I am once again lucky enough to have been recommended some interesting stuff by No, Totally! On Twitter. Having included an Every Frame a Painting video in my fortnight of culture, they recommended that I check out some other video essayists.
Why Is Cinema?
Why Is Cinema is a series of tongue-in-cheek film discussions from Cameron Carpenter. The dead-pan humour was unexpected and well executed, I particularly enjoyed this video about David Fincher’s use of the mouth in cinema.
The idea of me critiquing a series of videos which comment on video essays and film criticism which comment on film, is so ridiculously meta that, should I continue, I will be on a one-way train ride to wankerdom.
After watching Why Is Cinema’s David Fincher / mouths video, I was waiting for a knowing wink to tell me that this video about Jake Gyllenhaal’s eyes was also a piss-take. As I sat there waiting for the funny to kick in, I started to realise that it was actually making some very interesting points. Perhaps they had inadvertently stumbled upon something interesting, or it was such an effective send-up of video essays that I was stupidly starting to believe what was being said.
Then the video ended and I realised that I’d actually watched an insightful and interesting video about an original and well-observed subject. Thank you Mr Nerdista.
In the first ‘So You Wanna Be A Film Nerd’ episode, Shannon from Strucci Movies sets out to create an accessible series of video essays which introduces elements of film theory. In my opinion, she’s completely succeeded. She’s like a cool school teacher – she explains things without being patronising, never labours her point, effectively uses humour to communicate, and introduces herself with her first name.
I chose this video as an example of her work because it made me realise that I previously had a short-sighted and un-nuanced view of auteur theory. Instead of making me feel stupid and rubbing it in my face, this video broadened my understanding and invited me to draw my own conclusions.