Hi. I’m Dori and I love movies hooray
(really? that’s your intro. wow so lame). Earlier this month, I graduated from Princeton with a degree in English and a certificate in linguistics. Now I’m unemployed and confused. Time to blog about movies.
During my time at Princeton, I came to realize that, even though I was an English major (and one with a genuine love for literature), my real passion is film. After studying three films (Blade Runner, George Washington, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) during a Contemporary Fiction course my sophomore year, I began to realize just how rewarding watching the right films closely can be. It sounds awfully silly now, but up to that point, I had really only been watching films at plot-level; for whatever reason, I had never managed to connect the close-reading skills I applied to literature to film-watching
wow what a stupid . Better late than never, I suppose. If I remember correctly, it was my Professor Benjamin Widdis’s lecture on David Gordon Green’s George Washington (which reminds me, I really should rewatch that) that blew my mind so wonderfully that I decided to start watching movies just to watch them (that is, without any real reason for doing so and without other people asking me to do so). I began watching as often and as well as I could which probably was not very well at all, at least at first, and over time, I began to get the hang of it. Or maybe I just became convinced that film really was as rewarding/enriching/overwhelmingly fantastic as I had always found literature to be. Either way, I started to take films seriously and developed a sincere desire to become a better audience member. I wanted to be the sort of person who went to films and did them justice, who didn’t watch lazily, and who got as much out of them as I could (entertainment and enjoyment certainly, but also ideas, feelings, and so much more wow I sound like a cliche nerd dont I?).
In the spring of my junior year (a year or so after I started watching movies for more than plot or whatever
wow very nice use of words there, Dori) I decided that I should probably try writing about a film (like actual writing, with an argument and full sentences and all of that, not just a string of incoherent fragments on tumblr). So, for a my second independent project as an English major, I choose to write about Beasts of the Southern Wild. So yeah, my first paper on a film was a 30ish page research project called Life in the Bathtub: How Hushpuppy Interprets the Universe in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild; and, to my pleasant surprise, I got a good grade on it, which showed me that apparently, I really could apply the reading techniques I had learned studying words in books to images on screens. Woo. I swear this section I will wrap this section up shortly maybe I’ll try ok.
In the fall of my senior year, I finally did what I probably should have done earlier and took a class entirely on film: The Language of Cinema (according to P. Adams Sitney anyway). I did not always love the Professor’s taste, but the course gave me a good overview of film’s development into the medium most of us know it as today. More importantly, the course equipped me with the vocabulary I needed to begin talking and writing about films in a more intelligent manner. For the course, I wrote papers on Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and Ordet; they were all decent, but not particularly great (the papers, not the films. The films were great). Still, they were practice, and the feedback I received on them helped me to better read filmic images and to use my interpretation of a director’s stylistic choices to make an argument of some sort anyway.
idk I mean I can sort of write a paper on a film if I take the time sort of ok.
This past spring I got to take what would eventually become one the very best courses I took at Princeton: All About Hitchcock with Professor Anne Cheng. The course was great for a number of reasons. First, it gave me an excuse to watch 10ish Hitchcock films that I had never seen (before the course, I had only seen Vertigo and Psycho). Second, it provided me with a good deal of practice in applying literary theory (often in the form of psychoanalysis because Hitchcock) to films. Still the most valuable thing I learned from the course was just how much can be gained (and seen) by watching multiple works by the same director in relatively quick succession. Now that I am finished with the class (and, for the time being, school in general), I am excited to try and replicate what the course did for me with Hitchcock with other directors. The course was taught as a seminar rather than a lecture, so it also helped me learn how to articulate my ideas on a film in a discussion setting. For the course I wrote one paper on Rebecca and another on Psycho and Vertigo; both of my papers were very well received by the professor, and her encouragement played a large role in giving me the confidence
fragile as it is to go ahead and create this blog.
So that’s me and movies I guess. I just graduated. I have no idea what I am doing with my life and I could really use a job. In the mean time, Imma blog about films.
What I’ll be doing here (maybe probably):
Right now, I have a tentative plan to apply to graduate school within the next few years. While I might apply to programs in English, what I would really love to do is get an M.A. in film studies. If that is going to happen, I should probably improve my abilities to watch, think about, and write on films
(or at least do what I can to maintain the feeble skills I do have). With that in mind, I will use this blog as a place to work through my ideas on various films. Those ideas may take any of numerous forms. I’ll probably post everything from random musings and simple reviews to tirades and entire essays. Hopefully, having this blog will encourage me not only to keep watching quality films, but also to keep forcing myself to write which can pretty hard for me to do without a Professor threatening my life/G.P.A. The first few posts will (probably) be reworks/summaries/revisions of some of my previous writings. After that, who knows? I may post reviews of some of the films I’ve watched recently. I may revisit some of my long-time favorites with a more critical eye. We just don’t know, but that cool yo.
I like movies so Imma use this blog to post semi-coherent pieces on some of the ones I watch kk cool.
Oh, and if you want to know which movies I have seen or want to keep up with my film-watching habits, check out my letterboxd.