Home > Uncategorized > If You Could Study Anything About Film….What Would It Be?

If You Could Study Anything About Film….What Would It Be?

I’ve been given a rare opportunity by my film professor, a professor whose opinion and depth of knowledge I truly admire, to study independently under his supervision for the next 4 months.  A little back-story: the last two film classes I’ve taken, Film Since the 1940’s and Film Theory, were taught by this same professor, who is admittedly hard and makes his classes difficult for the casual student who might view film classes as an easy A.  He takes the art-form seriously, which is easily my favorite element of his teaching style.  He has a certain reverence for film and wishes to protect the sanctity of the medium from those of lower intelligence or those who don’t take the analytic process seriously.  If nothing else his classes teach you to see film, and in many ways the world, in a way you’ve never looked at them.

Here’s the kicker to my situation: I get to choose my own topic.  As he stated to me, choose a topic, genre, author, etc, that I really want to deeply examine and be an expert in.  In essence, I get to choose any topic on film and study it in-depth, and have it count as college credit.  I seriously can’t think of anything that would be more exciting as a huge film fan.  The problem is, what the hell should I choose as my topic??  Think about the possibilities. I could choose to study a particular director out of the many many directors I admire and love, I could choose a certain genre of film, a specific time-period, an aspect of the film-making process, a technological movement, a  film theorist and his theories on the medium, the films of a particular country, or perhaps even a single film that demands the attention of 4 months worth of study.  Seriously, I’m over-the-moon ecstatic about this opportunity and excited to start the studying and analysis.

This post is, ideally, a call for help!  If you were in my shoes and you could study an element of film, any element, what would it be?  Leave your personal selection or a suggestion in the comments section.  I have til next week to begin a dialogue with the professor about my topic, so until then I’ll be thinking up ideas.  But I could use some ideas that I might not otherwise have thought of on my own.  So, if you have an idea feel free to suggest it!  Plus, it’ll be cool to find out what other people find most interesting or the one topic of film they’d like to study the most.

What do you think??

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I’d say a certain director. That would probably ensure that the topic is neither too broad (like a particularn genre or a national cinema) nor too limited (like one single film).

    • August 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      I think I agree with you, that’s kind of the way I’m leaning right now. If nothing else it would give me the opportunity to watch several films by a director whose work I may be only slightly familiar with. Then it comes down to, do I choose a director who I am very familiar with and already have a pre-existing opinion of, or be bold and try to discover a director whose work I don’t really know. It’ll be fun either way!

      • August 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

        Both options sound great. I guess if I were you I’d choose a director I’m not yet very familiar with.

        Do you already have some directors in mind?

      • August 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

        I’m leaning towards looking at a group of directors who were involved with a particular movement in film since it would provide ample material for 4 months of studying. My knowledge of Chinese or Iranian or Indian cinema, for example, is pretty lacking, so it would be appealing to look at the film movements of a particular time in a country’s history and single out the directors involved. Right now I’m leaning towards Chinese cinema I think, maybe the Fifth Generation directors since I’ve never seen any of their films.

        Thanks again for offering advice, it’s much appreciated!

      • August 19, 2012 at 9:16 am

        That sounds like a great plan. I hope you’ll keep us updated on how it works out for you and what will be your final decision regarding the topic. =)

  2. August 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    With your love of samurai cinema, you could dig into that, Japanese cinema, and specifically Japanese cinema during the American censorship years. I don’t know a lot about it but I think it was a big deal there.

    Or are you looking for more general stuff? Personally, I’d go full-bore into a film movement. And since you’re learning at a rate that us regular schmoes don’t, I’d try to do something you’re really not attracted to because it’d probably help break down some personal barriers and make you a more well-rounded viewer. To put it in my own terms, even without a professor’s guidance, I’m going to learn as much as I can about horror, comedy, French cinema, etc… But I’d never personally seek out knowledge about musicals, rom coms, German cinema post-WWII, etc…

    I envy your choice.

    • August 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Those are some pretty great points. We briefly touched on most of the major film movements in my Film Since the 1940’s class (French New Wave, New Hollywood, Italian Neo-Realism. etc) But those are the ones most people are very familiar with, so I think it would be more appealing to look at something a little smaller that I don’t know much about, say the New German cinema, or the Czech New Wave, or the Chinese Fifth Generation.

      The more I think about it that could be the way to go. Studying a movement could provide a broad spectrum of outcomes since the diversity of films and filmmakers would be greater, of course, than if I looked at one single director.

      Thanks for the input, John.

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