Summary-Review Notes and Questions, excerpted and adapted from resource manual, for
The Film Experience/ Introduction and also Review from the LaunchPad course site:

The Introduction is the first of two chapters that investigate the institutional, cultural, and industrial forces that organize the film experience. It examines how film cultures in the twenty-first century see, understand, and enjoy movies through an ever-expanding variety of media. The Introduction grounds your academic engagement with the movies within the context of your everyday experience of film culture. It acknowledges that diverse expectations, ideas, and understanding shape how and why people choose, comprehend, and respond to films. It encourages you to build upon your own lived knowledge of film culture as movie viewers and to use the economic, aesthetic, and technological models detailed in the book to study movies—thus increasing your enjoyment and understanding of the changing film experience. The Introduction prepares you to consider the importance of context and community in your study of film. You may wonder how and why you would study film as an academic discipline when it is associated primarily with entertainment. Movies are both a private and a public affair. Our different viewing experiences as movie spectators determine how we understand the movies. Today the study of film represents a wide spectrum of approaches and points of view, including studies of different historical periods and national cinemas, studies of how race and gender play a part in the kinds of movies made and audiences’ responses to them, and studies of particular aesthetic, technological, or formal features of films. In sum, The Film Experience explores the commercial and artistic choices involved in making films and details the historical, aesthetic, economic, and technological innovations that
have shaped the medium.

Alvy Singer meets Annie Hall to see The Sorrow and the Pity. What is your idea or  definition of a date movie? Have you ever gotten into an argument about a movie’s meaning?

The first serious study of the movies as art was published only two decades after the medium’s public debut in 1895. Based on your own courses of study, you can find multiple entry points into the field: business, art, chemistry, photonics, psychology, history, and economics, to name but a few.

Film Spectators and Film Cultures, p. 11
What types of films do you identify with most closely? Are they from a particular country or era or particular genres? Do they feature certain stars or a particular approach to music or settings

Identification, Cognition, and Film Variety, p. 13
Do you agree that movies like Juno “may appeal to a wealthier, more urban demographic comfortable with ironic, irreverent depictions of social problems” or even that it is truly an independent film?

The 400 Blows: An Auteur’s Film Experience (1959), pp. 14–15
What strikes and remains with you, from watching this film, and from my lengthy comments (lecture notes also online in Bblearn) about it? How does knowing about Truffaut’s life affect your response to and understanding of the film?

•Did a movie ever scare you so much you slept with the lights on?
• Has a movie made you want to visit a different country or experience a different culture?
• Has watching a movie ever sparked your interest in learning more about a historical
figure or event?

Fuller Review Summary of this Introductory Chapter:

Studying Film: Culture, Practice, Experience
The experience of watching movies has continued to change and diversify in the twenty-first century with new movie types, new viewing devices (such as the iPad), and new venues for watching movies (such as IMAX theaters). Film culture encompasses the socially and historically determined ideas, values, and expectations of the movies. A wide variety of film tastes, viewing environments, and activities that are associated with movies – advertising campaigns, online film trailers, movie reviews, and celebrity gossip – inform our film culture. Film culture, in turn, transforms our experience of a movie – that is, why, where, and when we see a movie can shape our responses, enjoyment, and understanding of it. For instance, our movie-viewing experience will vary greatly if we opt to forego a group outing to the multiplex and instead watch the latest Adam Sandler comedy at home on an iPad while wearing headphones.

Why Film Studies Matters
Film studies as a discipline promotes thinking about movies from a variety of critical and cultural perspectives. The study of film has long attracted scholars from a variety of fields including literary theory, art history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Many individuals, from artists to scientists to politicians, have tried to make sense of how movies attempt to describe the world and how film fits into the realms of art and society. The critical study of film and its history enhances our enjoyment and appreciation of the movies and provides insight into various aspects of our social and cultural experiences.

Film Spectators and Film Cultures
While the formal production practices of the film industry are crucial to understanding movies, the significance of movies is not only related to how they are made but also how we, the viewers, respond to them. Situating the study of film within the context of film spectatorship acknowledges the engagement of film viewers and the cultural and social factors that help shape our responses to the movies. Watching movies is an active process that involves both private and public tastes. Our experience of a film exists at the intersection of our personal likes and dislikes and larger social and cultural contexts – for example, one might be predisposed to like a film because it features a favorite actor, has good prerelease buzz, and has garnered a handful of award nominations. The material factors of our identity (such as race, gender, and socioeconomic class) and our experiential histories (such as education, relationships, and travel experiences) work together to form both our personal tastes and larger group taste cultures.
Viewer tastes and experiences are activated by two psychological processes while watching a film: identification and cognition. Identification is when we emotionally engage with a character, place, or action in a movie. Cognition is the intellectual and social processes through which we understand, interpret, and reflect upon films.

The Film Experience
There are numerous important pathways into understanding a film, including formal analysis, social and economic contexts, film history, and film theory. Although these pathways are not mutually exclusive, each provides us with a different perspective on the forces that surround how films are created and how audiences interact with them.

In the clip from Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007), the main character (Ellen Page), a sardonic teenager who has just had sex with her best friend, receives the news that sets the plot in motion.
Discussion Questions
1. How do camera placement and editing establish intimacy and identification with Juno?

2. What do we learn about Juno from the fact that she reads her test in the presence of the store clerk played by Rainn Wilson. What other aspects of the clip create a particular understanding of her character?

In the final sequence of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959), an extraordinarily long tracking shot of Antoine on the run concludes with a celebrated freeze frame.

1. The length and simplicity of this sequence make it surprisingly difficult to interpret. How does it elicit moments of identification? How does it cognitively challenge us to make sense of it in terms of other films we have seen?

2. The final freeze frame of Antoine staring into the camera was highly unusual at the time. What does the freezing of the frame achieve? How do you read or interpret the expression on his face?