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Cinema Interruptus by Roger Ebert

Cinema Interruptus is the analysis of a film “one shot at a time” as described by Roger Ebert in his latest column. It’s incrediblyly information rich, as you can tell.

visual compositions have “intrinsic weighting.” By that I believe he means that certain areas of the available visual space have tendencies to stir emotional or aesthetic reactions. These are not “laws.” To “violate” them can be as meaningful as to “follow” them. I have never heard of a director or cinematographer who ever consciously applied them. I suspect that filmmakers compose shots from images that well up emotionally, instinctively or strategically, just as a good pianist never thinks about the notes. It may be that intrinsic weighting is sort of hard-wired. I am not the expert to say. I can observe that I have been through at least 10 Hitchcock films and not found a single shot that doesn’t reflect these notions.

Still, I found it very readable. It’s practically a whole film school in one reading. I think that reading it will increase your enjoyment of any film. I wish I’d had it during my film theory class in school. Slip in a Pixar DVD tonight and give it a try.

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