(Image courtesy of Creative Commons) I was first introduced to Ms. Bowers through a class she is teaching, Film as Literature. I took it hoping it would be a nice, easy class that I could skate through for an easy A. Instead, I got a deep dive on how to watch and analyze a film. […]
(Image courtesy of Creative Commons)
I was first introduced to Ms. Bowers through a class she is teaching, Film as Literature. I took it hoping it would be a nice, easy class that I could skate through for an easy A. Instead, I got a deep dive on how to watch and analyze a film. The class has been so interesting that I was inspired to interview her about her love and passion for film.
The first film she said she had analyzed was the Adventures of Robin Hood by Errol Flynn. “I realized that I recognized directing style. The shadows of the actors were so significant. I had noticed that in Michael Curtiz films, films like Casablanca. It was the first time I ever was able to identify a director by a visual style.”
The focus on film direction was a reoccurring topic in our conversation. “Ultimately its the director [who has the most creative influence]. The director is the creative control on the film set. It’s the director who is mostly responsible. The director takes control over the look of the film, the feel fo the film. I think a good director doesn’t try to show off — he serves the story and the characters first. It isn’t about how flashy they can be.”
Some have claimed that the golden age of film was during any number of decades, but Ms. Bowers disagrees. “For me, the sweet spot was in the ’30s to the late ‘40s.” But she does acknowledge the issues with films at this time. “But then again, there are things those films don’t have that today’s films have. Things like racial diversity, that is missing from those films. You have a lot of inclusion issues. There’s virtually nothing directed by, written by a woman.”
“I do think the films stand the test of time, but there is a lot missing as well. They’re not what they could have been.”
Although she has not written off modern filmmaking, she does have gripes about its current state compared to its past. “I’ll ask students ‘What films have you seen in the past ten years that you think people will talk about 50 years from now?’ There are some, they are few and far between. It’s not just ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’ syndrome. I do think there has been diminished quality.”
I am learning a lot more from this class than I was expecting. Ms. Bowers is one of the best people at this school to talk about film, and her lifetime of experience makes her class informative in a way that few can match.