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Bell Hooks

I definitely got more out of the Bell Hooks video then I ever thought I would have. After you gave the class a short synopsis on what we were about to watch, I basically just expected a good little 20/20 type show talking about feminism in film and popular culture. Instead I got that and more. I was able to hear an incredibly smart and gifted woman voice her opinions on everything from gangster rap and Madonna to the OJ Simpson trial and thinking critically when watching films. Now while I didn't agree with everything she had to say, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy or get anything out of the video because I did. I just watched the video again for the second time and I was able to get into and like it even more this time around. After watching it twice and being able to think about it for a bit I feel like I have a pretty strong grasp on what Hooks was trying to say.

Her main goal out of the lecture that she gave was to think critically when listening to music, watching television and especially films. She does not want us just to watch the movie. She wants us to look behind on the sets and the acting, and instead think about all of the thinking processes that went into creating what we the viewer is watching. She wants us to ask questions like why was this person cast? Who wrote this film and what is his/her background? Who produced this film? She believes that if we ask these questions then we can understand why we are seeing what we are viewing on the film and we are also getting to see what the makers of these are all about. Knowing who is making the film tick and creating the representations that you see on the screen gives you a better feel for why certain things are the way they are in the film. Not only that, but you will also be judging the film with a much more open and intelligent mind. By asking those questions I believe Hooks would say we are being enlightened witnesses. After watching the video I will definitely be adding another approach to my movie watching skills. As a Studies in Cinema and Media Culture major, a lot of these approaches to viewing film are some that I already use, but there were plenty of different ways that she talked about that I will be using. Thinking about who made the film is one thing I know for a fact I will be using when it comes to watching all movies especially with the ones in this course. After talking about the "male gaze" and Mulveys article it is going to be very interesting to see all of the different approaches to portraying women on film. Through close ups and framing (just to name a few) a serious film can use these techniques the wrong way and make a film look like every other Hollywood flick out there.

I did have a few minor disagreements with her but there is only one that I thought I would mention because watching the video again I got the same feeling of almost complete disagreement as I did the first time. The majority of what Hooks said about Spike Lee was completely off-base. While I do see what she is saying when she talks about him being treated unfairly and not respected, I have to say that almost all of his movies have been positively reviewed and he is definitely one of the most celebrated filmmaker of the past 20 years. When it comes to making money Spike has and never will be about that so we can lay that issue to rest. But when she started mentioning the talk of Spike being considered a failure that is where I couldnt bite my tongue any longer. I out of all of the years i have been watching and studing movies like crazy have never heard anything EVER about Spike Lee being a failure. Beside that small section of the video, I really enjoyed Bell Hooks' lecture. She is a smart woman who knows what she is talking about. She realizes that popular culture is, good or bad, where the learning is at for our generation. Knowing that she gives us many useful tips out of getting the most of what we are given.