Watching Difficulty lies in the need to remain totally “immersed in the experience of the film while also sustaining some level of objectivity and detachment.” Types of Viewing: Single viewing, double viewing, or going back and re-watching key scenes Ideal Viewing: Double Viewing (After you see the film once and understand what happens and the overall purpose, the second viewing allows you to begin analyzing particular elements and “see” more in the film.) Theme Theme: The central purpose of the film (plot, character, emotional effect, style, idea) Questions to help determine theme: What is the director’s purpose or primary aim in making the film? What is the true subject of the film; and what kind of statement, if any, does the film make about the subject? The Relationship of the Parts to the Whole After identifying the theme, the viewer will then go back and analyze the different elements of film: story, dramatic structure, symbolism, characterization, conflict, setting, title, irony, cinematography, editing, film type and size, sound effects, dialogue, the musical score, the acting, the film’s overall style. Questions: How do all the separate elements of the film relate to and contribute to the theme, central purpose, or total effect? The Film’s Level of Ambition We should judge a film based on what the film/director has set out to do. The viewer needs to adjust expectations of the film based on the film’s ambition. It is unfair to judge a comedic film against a serious dramatic epic. These two films have different levels of ambition (Example:You should not judge the ambition of Superbad against Shindler’s List.) Important Questions: What is the film’s level of ambition? What have the filmmaker's set out to do? Objective Evaluation of the Film First Step: Given the film’s level of ambition, how well does the film succeed in what it tries to do? “In order to answer this question, the viewer must go back and review the effectiveness of all the other cinematic elements in light of its ambition.” Second Step: Why does the film succeed or fail? Why and Where? Objective Evaluation, cont. Third Step: Which elements or parts make the strongest contribution to the theme and why? Which elements or parts fail to function effectively? Why do they fail? Caution: Do not be overly critical or focused on small, inconsequential technical flaws. Subjective Evaluation As human beings, it is impossible to remain completely unbiased and objective in our evaluation of a film. Our experiences, beliefs, personalities will invariably affect our judgment and our reaction to a film. Question to guide Subjective Evaluation: What is our personal reaction to the film? What are our personal reasons for liking or disliking it?