. Reflective Journal: ‘The Film Viewing Experience’ (1500w). Weighting: 30% Due Friday October 10, 11:59pm.
Maxim Gorky’s account of a film viewing experience in July, 1896:
“I was at Aumont’s and saw Lumière’s cinematograph – moving photography. The extraordinary impression it creates is so unique and complex that I doubt my ability to describe it with all its nuances… As you gaze at it, you see carriages, buildings and people in various poses, all frozen into immobility… But suddenly a strange flicker passes through the screen and the picture stirs to life. Carriages coming from somewhere in the perspective of the picture are moving straight at you, into the darkness in which you sit; somewhere from afar people appear and loom larger as they come closer to you… All this moves, teems with life and, upon approaching the edge of the screen, vanishes somewhere beyond it…”
In Walter Murch, “Black and White and in Color,” McSweeney’s, Oct 3, 2007.
This assessment requires you to keep a reflective journal of your experience of film viewing in this unit of study. In your journal, you are required to comment on at least 4 films screened during semester, paying attention not only to your response to the film (ie, “what I thought of the film”), but the conditions of viewing – was it a unit of study screening, was it viewed in isolation on a laptop, or with friends at a public screening? What is the unique affect of a viewing experience, rather than simply ‘a film’?
In the journal, I want you to consider:
• Your evaluation: what did you think of the film, or films, or the films in comparison? But evaluation is a critical process; it is not purely a matter of personal taste. For two excellent pieces on approaches to film analysis and criticism, see: Bordwell and Thompson, “Evaluation: Good, Bad, or Indifferent,” pp. 60-62; and David Bordwell, “Studying Cinema,” David Bordwell’s Website on Cinema, 2000, accessed May 20, 2014, http://www.davidbordwell.net/essays/studying.php
• A personal assessment of your experience – how were you ‘affected’ by the film/s throughout semester?
As a reader of your journal, I’m looking for subtle, exploratory, adventurous readings of how you ‘experience’ cinema. How have these films impacted on you as spectator – or as the member of an audience? How does the film experience enter into the wider context of your life experience? How have these films come to mean something to you?
•Your engagement with the film within the context of the unit as a whole. How has your viewing experience been enriched through the various film studies discourses we’ve opened up in the course? How has the material in lectures, tutorial discussions, and your readings enriched your viewing of the films each week? How has the material enriched your capacity to reflect on this body of cinema?
While I encourage you to attend all screenings, I understand that this will not be possible for all. Thus, I ask you to be sensitive to the unique form of your viewing experience. In your selection of films, reflect upon your relationship to the series of films you’ve chosen as a whole. In this assessment, you thus become a curator of a program, providing a reflective rationale for your selection of films.
While this is a personal reflection of a viewing experience, it is not a diary. You should reference any material cited, and situate your written reflections within a scholarly discourse. I encourage you to reflect on your subjective response to the films, but this response should nonetheless be contextualized within the broader field of study in the unit.
Last (and I can’t stress this enough): your journal should be a work informed through development and reflection. It should be maintained, added to, revised, raised as a topic for discussion in tutorials, and so on, as you progress through the unit. It should not be cobbled together on the morning of submission! I would anticipate anywhere from three to ten separate entries in your journal.
The Film Viewing Experience
The paper provides my film viewing experience on the various films screened during the semester. The four films discussed in the journal offered a different kind of film viewing experience related to my life perception and understanding (Ulman, 2010). The films describe the unique effect of the films as well as my personal thoughts on the impacts in my life.
The first film was “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station.”I viewed the movie in a public screening with my friends on a Saturday. The background of the film in the screens was spectacular combined with some unique themes and songs (Bordwell, 2000). It drew my full attention towards the screen to experience the engineering works of the Pennsylvania Railroads. The film had a series of quality images of the nearby cities as well as photographs throughout the Penn Station. It improved my perception on documentaries relating to engineering works (Zittoun, 2013). In addition, I was fascinated by the theme of the film considering that I was a big fan of railways from my childhood. I was able to understand the enormous engineering works involved in the building of the rail tunnels. Most important, I gained an historical understanding on the coverage of the Penn station in the U.S. As learned from the film, Penn station covered close to eight acres one the largest public spaces (Tan, 2013). Apart of from the viewing experience, the unique effect was the ability to visualize the Penn station as source of the American powers across the world. I understood the need of a country’s landmark and infrastructures (Trowbridge, 2013). During the film viewing, my friends offered some interactive discussions that helped promote my viewing experience. I thought the film was crucial to my knowledge on the efforts engaged in most engineering works. It was a life changing film due to the discoveries unfolded from the film about engineering works, more so the operation of the rail stations.
The second film that changed by film experience was “The Amish”. First, the front animation displayed in the screen was attractive and created suspense. The screen started by showing an image of a small boy sitting staring at a house. It created my desire and eager to understand and unfold the mystery about the young boy. It explains my film experience culminated by an overwhelming desire to know the story line in the film (Bordwell, 2013). I was screening the film in isolation using my laptop on a Sunday evening. The film was a mixture of intense learning and meditation. In most of the Sunday evenings, I just wanted to be alone to meditate on certain mysteries in life. The film was timely due to its story line of the Amish faith and life (Betjeman, 2012). The film exposed me to the communal cultures that dominated most individualistic societies across the world. I could not look sideways, since the film offered relevant insights on the existence of faith and life (Rabiger & Hurbis-Cherrier, 2013). Apart from the film viewing experience, I believe the film was unique due to its ability one of the debatable issues in life about religion and faith. The exploration of Amish faith helped me to understand the degree of the American values. At times, the film was scary due to images and mysteries showed in the different scenes. I thought the film cleared some of my worries relating to American faith and life (Mroz, 2012). Since, it changed my life perception and thinking on religion and life putting some strong convictions on the American faith.
The third film that illuminated my film viewing experience was “Henry Ford.” The background of the filming created an impression on the auto industry explaining that Henry Ford was an instrumental contributor the industry. It provided a trend of images of the innovation from the late 1970s to the modern society. It also created a deep desire to know the contribution of Henry Ford to the creations in the motor industry. The viewing experience was in public screening with friends who was fascinated by the history of vehicles. Even though it was not my topic of interest, opening statements in the film explored the beauty about the innovations of the motorcars (Spiro, 2012). Apart from the viewing experience, the unique effect was on autobiography of Henry Ford. It made clarifications on how his childhood ambitions shaped up his mind towards achieving great achievements in his life. In addition, the film showed some personal contradictions on the nature of Ford. It was unique to understand on how innovators could have mixed lives. During the film viewing, each scene obsessed me, as it taught me a new thing about motorcar innovations. The lecture materials and presentations revealed some helpful insights on understanding some films (Green, 2011). As we viewed the screen, we were critical on the film analysis criteria discussed in the class including the themes and the style of play. The lecture material made the film experience of “Henry Ford” film exceptional.
The fourth film I was watched in isolation is “The Rockefellers.” It gave a different kind of unique film experience due to the subject matter of wealth creation in the oil industry. In my young age, I only think on how to become rich and gain more fame. Thus, I was eager to know the appropriate ways and insights towards gaining more wealth. The film starts with catchy memoirs of how people’s lives can be transformed (Gallese & Guerra, 2012). During the film, I was able to understand how the Rockefellers rose to prominence after gaining the monopoly for oil in America. The film offers the personal traits necessary to reflect on the direction of wealth creation (Loebl, 2010). The unique effect of viewing the film came about when Rockefellers gave half of his wealth to charity. It helped me to understand money and wealth do not matter in any person’s life, but the satisfaction of helping another person. It culminates the interpretation required by the class materials and lectures (Corrigan & White, 2012). The film experience was a real life revelation that changed my life on the greatest success in life. Today, I appreciate personal satisfaction as the greatest success rather than wealth. Therefore, the film, “The Rockefellers” offered a direct influence and impact on my perception about life achievements and success.
In summary, the four films offer a description of my film viewing experience during the semester. The first movie, “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station” has helped to appreciate the efforts made in the engineering works to come up with the railroads. The “Henry Ford” film also exposed me to personal traits relevant to came up with innovations in the world. Most of the scenes in the films offered life insights that changed my thinking towards certain things in life. For instance, “The Rockefellers” emphasized on the need for personal satisfaction and contentment rather than growing to wealth. It can be noted when Rockefeller gave half of his wealth to needy in the society. I understood personal achievement comes from the feelings of transforming the lives of people. Also, I was able to gain critical analysis on Amish faith and life that grew my understanding on religion and cultural beliefs. People faith is a crucial subject due to the mystery that is associated with the theme. Apart from the subjective experiences, the screens were well decorated and strategic for enhanced film screening during the public screening.
Betjeman, J. (2012). Ghastly good taste: or, a depressing story of the rise and fall of English architecture. New York, NY: Faber & Faber.
Bordwell, D. (2000). Studying cinema. David Bordwell’s Website on Cinema, 2000.Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.davidbordwell.net/essays/studying.php.
Bordwell, D. (2013). Narration in the fiction film. London: Routledge.
Corrigan, T., & White, P. (2012). The film experience: An introduction. New York, NY: Macmillan.
Gallese, V., & Guerra, M. (2012). Embodying movies: Embodied simulation and film studies. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, 3, 183-210.
Green, M. A. (2011). Learning experience for thin‐film solar modules: First Solar, Inc. case study. Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, 19(4), 498-500.
Loebl, S. (2010). America’s Medicis: The Rockefellers and their astonishing cultural legacy. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Mroz, M. (2012). Temporality and film analysis. London: Oxford University Press.
Rabiger, M., & Hurbis-Cherrier, M. (2013). Directing: film techniques and aesthetics. London: Taylor & Francis.
Ryan, M., & Lenos, M. (2012). An introduction to film analysis: Technique and meaning in narrative film. London: Continuum.
Spiro, R. (2012). Constructed memory: The transformation of subjective experience in the film and video Art of Omer Fast and Kerry tribe. Afterimage, 39(4), 17.
Tan, E. S. (2013). Emotion and the structure of narrative film: Film as an emotion machine. London: Routledge.
Trowbridge, H. (2013). Contemporary film distribution and exhibition: A review of recent studies. New Review of Film and Television Studies, 11(2), 224-234.
Ulman, A. (2010). Characterization of organic thin films. New York, NY: Momentum Press.
Zittoun, T. (2013). 1 1 0n the use of a film: Cultural experiences as symbolic resources. Little Madnesses: Winnicott, Transitional Phenomena and Cultural Experience, 135.