More junkie than critic

So, the reading for the weekend was Ed Sikov’s Film Studies: An Introduction, and I have to say that it won points right away for having a storyboard of THE scene from Psycho on the front cover. And I guess it’s as good a time as any to admit that I actually read the book before the course started (Yes. I am that student. Sorry.), which means that I had a little breathing room over the weekend to play with the fam. I liked the Sikov book because I like theory, and I like films, but I didn’t have many of the technical terms in my vocabulary to discuss them in a critical way. Now I have a go-to place to help me with all the technical angles. Instead of saying something like, “Boy, I really liked the way they ended that part,” I can try something a little more cocktail-party-worthy like, “The director certainly reinforced his overall theme with the short shot of the protagonist and asynchronous music at the end of that scene.” Okay, it’s a little awkward, but I think I could work it in…I did, as a film junkie, find myself matching film clips to the techniques Sikov discusses, like Blowout (with a crazy young John Travolta) when Sikov talks about sound, or Welcome to Sarajevo when he talks about conflict and desire. I love theory—I really do. So don’t get me wrong when I say I’m afraid to go too deeply here. Sometimes I want to be that little kid my dad took to see three movies in an afternoon—enamored by the magic of it all. I realize that ALL art is a construction, and that the artist makes choices either consciously or unconsciously to produce it. It is up to the viewer to derive whatever meaning we can. Sometimes I get a glimpse and think, “I get it.” More often I think, “What? I don’t understand.”  Sikov’s book adds some tools to my toolbox. And that’s always a good thing. I think it will be a great place for my students to start too. If I have each group read a different section, then all the groups analyze the same scene, maybe I can help them start peeling away at the layers of meaning. I don’t know. I don’t even know if that’s something I want to do myself. Film is magic. Do I want to peek behind the curtain?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ed Sikov
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 19:07:19

    Thanks so much! You’re my ideal reader! I’m very grateful, and very pleased that you liked the book.

    Your new best friend,
    Ed Sikov

    Reply

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