In her documentary film about cultural criticism, bell hooks offers up analyses of (then-)current trends in entertainment in a way that is both thoughtful and easy to understand. One thing she argues is that "there is a direct link between representations and choices we make." This link proves how crucial it is that we, as consumers of media, understand what the deliberate choices of, say, filmmakers mean and how they impact the way we behave toward others.
To analyze film, hooks wants us to understand the "conscious manipulations" of filmmakers, for example, choosing that thieves and villains be portrayed by black men. To be critical viewers (or "enlightened witnesses, as it were), we must understand not only what is being shown on screen, but why, who has written it, for whose consumption, and what the end goals of the entertainment are. She also warns against viewing transgressive tastes as radical or progressive ones, a connection I had not yet considered.
I think the most compelling tactic hooks outlined for us to be enlightened witnesses is to acknowledge that everyone who makes (or authorizes and promotes) films is making strategic choices. By acknowledging that, we can begin to critique both those choices and their impacts. Relating this to queer cinema, I am excited to discuss the application of concepts like the gaze and the deliberate choices of filmmakers. I am also interested in the political issues and contexts explored (or parodied) by queer cinema and the social repercussions of queer films.