Since it’s Women’s History Month, this video by Fandor Keyframe seems particularly relevant. We love their film analysis videos and have posted a few in the past already. Probably one of the most interesting thing about Fandor’s video essays is how they critique the Bechdel Test, a film criteria often used by feminists to test if a film is pro-women or not. However, the Bechdel Test isn’t perfect, and their video Beyond Bechdel: Testing Feminism in Film goes in-depth into the library of feminist films that surprisingly don’t pass the Bechdel Test. The video argues that Bechdel-approved films like Slacker, which only has one short scene that passes the Bechdel Test, do not outweigh films like Museum Hours, which doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test but has richly developed female characters. It’s probably best if we just let them explain it.
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It’s trendy to hate vertical videos (videos shot in portrait mode). After all, they’re considered annoying, unpleasing to the eye, and most importantly, amateurish. But filmmaker Miriam Ross thinks vertical videos add something landscape formats do not: the presence of an actual human being. In her video essay, she avoids the usual vertical video snobbery to describe the importance of vertical videos from a cultural standpoint, including how filmmakers are starting to see the artistic value of vertical videos. Could we be on the cusp of a new aesthetic practice?
Although the video is long, if you want to kill time on your lunch break, give it a quick watch. We promise you’ll think twice about “shaming” someone for recording in portrait mode.
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If you haven’t been following Tony Zhou‘s video essays, you’re missing out. His popular videos analyze different subjects in the areas of film, from Edgar Wright to Satoshi Kon. We already wrote about his video analyzing the Korean film Mother, but his most recent video is about a person you’re probably more familiar with. With Gone Girl hitting theaters soon, Zhou focuses his latest video on the unseen genius of director David Fincher’s editing and shot work.
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Every feminist or movie lover is familiar with the Bechdel test, a criteria that tasks fiction to include female characters who a) talk to each other, and b) talk to each other about something other than men. It sounds simple enough, but a surprising amount of seemingly feminist films fail the Bechdel test. Even more baffling? The high amount of erotic films that do pass the test.
In this video essay by Fandor, they take a scholarly look at the library of questionable films that pass the Bechdel test, from Nudes of the World to Satan’s Cheerleaders. Their analysis reveals the surprisingly positive message of early erotic films while also pointing out the imperfections of the Bechdel test and how the test is not an automatic detector of feminist-friendly films (for example, Satan’s Cheerleaders, which passes the Bechdel test, is an entire film about how feminism is comparable to Satanism). In the end, the video raises more questions than answers, but it reveals how the line between feminism and exploitation is less defined than you might think.
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If you don’t know who Tony Zhou is, now’s the perfect time to get acquainted. Zhou is a filmmaker who uploads awesome videos that analyze filmmaking techniques by famous directors. You probably heard about his video on Satoshi Kon’s editing quirks and his other video about Martin Scorsese’s use of silence. However, I want to jump back a bit and highlight an older video he did two months ago about Korean director Bong Joon-ho.
Joon-ho has been getting tons of press here in the States thanks to his first English-language film Snowpiercer, but 2009′s Mother is another great film of his. In the video (which, warning, contains spoilers), Zhou talks about Joon-ho’s expert use of telephoto profile shots. Typically directors shoot actors from the front to maximize the audience’s emotional connection to the characters. But in Mother, Joon-ho shoots emotionally charged scenes in profile. Zhou explains why Joon-ho does this in the video and explains how it’s cleverly done to reveal aspects about the characters’ humanity. It’s a fantastic example of craft and art.
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