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This dialogue between the film, its potential cinematic inter-texts, the author, the recipient, and numerous other para-texts, constitutes a complex hermeneutic network of consistently shifting spheres of information.The result is not one essential meaning but a multitude of interpretative frameworks.I had followed the author’s writings for quite some time and his presence on various internet venues had led me to the website of the .
Learning may not be the appropriate term, actually. Its aim is to engage me and the film in a critical discussion, to have me re-examine the film, through a new filmic experience, in a reciprocal cycle, governed by the author of the video essay.
It achieves what an excellent lecture should do, compel the student to reflect on what was discussed, minutes, hours, days later.
By consequence, the film’s form and affective quality are maintained, albeit in a different context.
Watching a video essay, to me, then is equal to returning to the theater, seeing the film again, only this time with the benefit of additional information, information – a true barrage of additional texts in fact – that is designed to be put into conversation with what is onscreen.
I snobbishly assumed the essay to be a mere “mash-up”, a promotional trailer show, a simplistic appropriation of beloved shots, compositions, and musical interludes from the director’s distinctive canon – little did I know that the essay would address these issues head-on and completely dispel my initial doubts.
As I was watching, I realized that the essay did not aim for sheer surface-level enjoyment.
The video essay returns the process of analysis to the “work of cinephilia, of love of the cinema”, (6) for the critic and her reader/viewer alike.
website, on closer inspection, proved to be a valuable source for these.
At any rate, what was so striking about the essay was its ability to condense the distinctive style of Wes Anderson, not in a reductive or simply reproductive fashion, but in an analytic and poetic one, remixing scenes from the director’s filmography, adding visual material from other films, incorporating rock and pop music, comic book panels, interviews, archival research, splitting the projection screen, injecting multiple screens into it, writing on them and talking over them; the video essay format revitalizes the medium of criticism as a performance.
By means of voice-over commentary, editing, sound design, textual inserts, in short , Matt Zoller Seitz presents the work of Wes Anderson anew, afresh, pleasurably familiar yet invigoratingly different, appropriating and remediating the films’ stylish appeal and the cinematic medium’s form.