Cultural Criticism & Transformation

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With some time for reflection after watching the film, I plan to watch films critically to extract my personal life experiences from my analysis. In order to objectively critique a film, we have to step back and look at the surroundings of the given topic. In this way, the audience can take on a certain omniscient role by separating him/herself from the equation and seriously, yet objectively observe the film.

The ways about which I'll continue watching films critically will be centered around awareness. Awareness of intention(s) of the film makers, awareness of societal trends, and be fully aware of the implications of language used in the films, and by myself. With a conscious understanding of the film-makers goals, we can have a more accurate understanding of what is actually going on in the film, as well as what may be altered to produce a given outcome or audience reaction. Without an understanding of social, political, or economic trends of the setting of the film and/or the setting of the time in which the film was produced, we can miss out on a lot of potential social commentary or implications being portrayed, even subtly, throughout the film. By using accurate language to convey my critiques, I'll be able to more effectively express my thoughts on a film. As mentioned by Bell Hooks, the use of "white supremacy" over "racism" gives radically different angles on a similar issue.

In order to be an "enlightened witness" we must be aware of the intent of a given film. By altering and manipulating music, certain scene edits, using color schemes and other symbolism, films shift the direct account of a story to a specific version of the story. This makes it imperative for the audience to have an awareness of the goals of the film makers first and foremost.

2 Comments

I thought your post was interesting. I never thought about the actually filming techniques and how they can affect the viewer’s perception just as much as other aspects of the movie, such as actors. I never even thought about the use of lighting, setting, sound and even the script and how that can affect how one sees a culture. I also really like how you mentioned that you take your own personal experiences and compare those with what you see on screen. If someone were to have somehow experienced a negative stereotype, also seeing it on screen could just reinforce it making that person less likely to change their mind on a group in general. Paying attention to the setting of the film, as well as the time and place the movie was made is also important. Stereotypes grow and change as populations change, and we really need to understand what was going on when the film was created to truly understand the film itself. Wonderful critique; I really enjoyed it.

Upon reading your post I had never thought of the use of language in a film and the impacts it has. Language is probably one of the top tools in order to portray stereotypes. It's so easy to show a person's character through their dialogue. Going along with language, slang or even certain racial groups accents can depict how the filmmaker wants the character or group of characters in a film to be portrayed. Word choice can show their education level, their respect for whom they are talking to, and primarily their role in the film.

I also agree when you say we have to pay attention to what may have been altered in the film in order to produce a given outcome or audience reaction. The main thing that film makers use is stereotypes to produce these because it is easy for us as members of society to buy into these stereotypes when we are constantly seeing them reinforced in the media. In order to see clearly we need to shed stereotypical thoughts and watch films critically with a better understanding of what is going on.

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This page contains a single entry by ked035 published on January 22, 2012 7:26 PM.

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