“Notorious” B.I.G. (Movie)

A major part of this week’s assignment was to create a video essay for a movie that was included on a list that the professors provided. Considering that I have always wanted to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, I chose “Notorious”. Preceding the viewing, we were required to read Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” and watch three videos that include cinematic techniques. The three videos that I chose were “Examples of Editing Techniques”, “Camera Angles and Techniques”, and “Hitchcock Loves Bikinis”. I thought the latter would be useful because of my choice to watch Hitchcock’s film. However, it did not provide me with a lot of help for the video essay that I constructed. This assignment is a variation off of the Video Essay assignment in the Assignment Bank. It states:

For this assignment you need to select several scenes from your favorite film (or one of your favorites), and edit them together and comment on some of the filmic elements of the scenes? Why do you like these scenes? What strikes you about them? What makes them good cinema? Is there a subtext at work in this film? In short, construct an essayistic commentary on the scenes as a narrator explaining to your audience what you find important about the scene, and why. What’s more, what do the details you have pinpointed say about the film more generally.

However, for this variation, we were only required to select one scene. I chose my scene carefully, to make sure that I could apply a large portion of Ebert’s article to the visual quality of it. After viewing the entire film and making note of a few scenes that caught my eye, I made the final decision to analyze the scene of Alicia Huberman and Devlin conversing on the morning of her hangover, about a job that he wants her to do for the police, spying on Nazis. I chose this scene because its camera angles mimic a lot of the points that Ebert makes in his article about dominance. Plus, it has a very unique 180 degree turn of the camera that really intrigues me. The video proceeds with interesting camera angles and jump cuts (mentioned in the “Examples of Editing Techniques” video) from Alicia to Devlin.

I created this video essay in iMovie, after downloading “Notorious”, in its entirety, from YouTube (using 4K Video Downloader) and trimming out my chosen scene (using MPEG Streamclip). I input voice-overs for my commentary. It was rewarding to “read” the film, because I felt like a true film critic. Rather than just watching the film for fun, I took an educational approach and found crucial elements that make this scene work the way it is intended. Check out what I mean, below: