Lecturer: Alexa Weik von Mossner (Rachel Carson Fellow)
Alexa presented slides (available on GESA intranet) on the topic of critiquing film in respect to its portrayal of the environment and environmental message. She began her presentation by explaining why we analyze film and why it is important to analyze film through the prism of its environmental message. Of particular emphasis was the assertion that although film is a visual medium, the audio that often accompanies it is vitally important to the overall message. Several tips she recommended for critiquing film were to watch on a small screen, have the ability to pause the shot, and to listen to the audio with headphones. These techniques help maintain a state of “active” viewing and prevent getting too engrossed in watching the film for its entertainment value.
Before practicing critiquing film, Alexa provided questions to ask while viewing and spoke about the decoding of messages and the intentions of the director. We then watched the introductions to Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” about post-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana, and “Children of Men.” Both of these films portray a type of dystopian world and have strong environmental themes, which we identified in the concluding discussion.