Hi, everyone! For the next minute or so, I’d like to talk to you all about my experience with reading Roger Ebert’s essay ‘How to Read A Movie’. I’ll do that by examining a scene. Now, as I think of a movie scene worth writing about, I’m reminded of the week we had the option to watch The Shining. If ever there was an example of a movie worth analyzing, it’d be this one. Of the many scenes to choose from, I’d like to focus on one that I’ve given insight to before, though this time from a different lens.
The image below is from an important scene with a child riding a tricycle in the hallways of the hotel. One thing that Roger Ebert makes note of is the use of space to connote positivity and negativity within a scene. According to him, right is generally more positive while left is considered negative. In this scene, however, there’s an odd sense of balance here. At times, the subject is on the right, at times on the left. But around him, the walls and doors are in equal number and equally spaced. However, Ebert admits that these are more like tendencies than absolutes, so following them as if they were wholly true would be less than appropriate.
My last comment is on how throughout the scene, the viewer is taken through the hotel. There is little room for control for the viewer in watching a movie– it’s an experience in observation, we follow what we want to based on what we’re given. In this case, we’re following one specific subject and not given much else to experience other than that. He rides through the scene, the only sound heard being the sounds of the tricycle rolling on the floor. This journey isn’t anything outstanding, but the aesthetic and the feel it provides is what’s important. I appreciate what it adds to the film.
Here’s my video for the essay: