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VIDEO - Motion Studies #1: The Substance of Style

Press Play By Volker Pantenburg and Kevin B. Lee | Press Play March 19, 2012 at 12:05PM

A sampling of exemplary works from the emerging genre of online video essays on cinema. What better way to kick off the series than with an opening credit sequence, unpacked in such a way that can only be done via video essay?
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For the next seven weeks, the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival will present "Film Studies in Motion", a Web Series curated by Volker Pantenburg and Kevin B. Lee. This series, available on the festival's website and Facebook page, presents weekly selections of analytical video essays on the web, in preparation for Pantenberg and Lee's presentation  "Whatever happened to Bildungsauftrag? – Teaching cinema on TV and the Web", scheduled for April 28 at the festival.

Press Play will track the series, posting four or five of the selected videos each week as they also become available on the Oberhausen website.

The following introduction to the series is taken from the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival website:

Anyone who has an internet connection and wants to expand their understanding of cinema can behold the remarkable abundance of analytical video essays on the web. Proliferated in just the last five years, these meticulous readings of title sequences, thorough investigations of film style and montage decisions, dialogic inquiries of acting or mise en scene have created a genre in its own right. They can be found on websites like IndieWire's Press Play, Fandor, Moving Image Source and Audiovisualcy, on the last of which curator Catherine Grant has categorized these works under the term "videographic film studies." The essays are expressions of a cinephilia 2.0, fueled by weblogs, internet-journals and streaming platforms, produced from DVDs and digital media, laptops, and DIY editing software.

This week is an initial sampling of exemplary works from the emerging genre of online video essays on cinema. Combined they cover a wide range of subject matter (a genre, a sequence in a film, a cinematic motif, a director’s body of work). They demonstrate a variety of stylistic approaches to the video essay form, using an array of techniques: montage and rhythm, split screens, narration, creative use of on-screen text, etc. These works, some of them conceived as multi-part series, are made typically on computers with consumer-grade editing software, but they display an ingenuity that is comparable to that of the films they explore.

Today's selection:

The Substance of Style, Pt 5: The prologue to The Royal Tenenbaums, annotated
Matt Zoller Seitz (2009)

What better way to kick off the series than with an opening credit sequence, unpacked in such a way that can only be done via video essay?

Volker Pantenburg is assistant professor for Visual Media with the main focus “Research of the Moving Image” at the media faculty of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. 

Kevin B. Lee is Editor in Chief of IndieWire’s PressPlay Video Blog and contributor to Roger Ebert.com. Follow him on Twitter.

This article is related to: video essay, Matthew Zoller Seitz, Motion Studies, MOTION STUDIES: ESSENTIAL VIDEO ESSAYS


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