Video Essay


By: Alfred Hitchcock

A huge part of this week was to read and understand how to read a movie… then create a video essay.. analyzing it from what we learned. We were required to read, How to read a movie by Robert Ebert, as well as watch videos from Tony Zhous, Every frame a painting series. The article and videos were very helpful when analyzing a scene from Notorious by Alfred Hitchcock. Here is the requirements for this assignment:

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.

For us we only had to take one scene from a movie and analyze it. When choosing a scene I wanted to use I looked for something that had a lot of what Ebert talked about in his article. I recently watched Notorious with my grandmother when I saw her over break and I remember the scene of Alicia and Devlin conversation as Alicia is trying to get over her hangover. The camera angles that were used really got me to pay attention and intrigued me to this scene.

I had a lot of trouble when creating this assignment due to the annoying virus on my computer… so I wasn’t about to do a voice over with my video essay… I have uploaded the scene I want to analyze to youtube and I will just type out my analysis here, on my blog along with the attached video.


The use of space and camera angles in this scene represents ,what Edwin spoke about..which is mood and feeling. The camera angle on Alicia is unbalanced and is shooting from a weird lower angle… the unbalance is due to Alicias obvious hangover. Because the camera angle on Alicia (lower than eye level) she is the non dominate character. Devlin, on the other hand, is the dominate character because the camera angle is enhancing him. The camera angles in this scene convey what is actually going on without even needing to hear what the characters are saying. Edwin spoke to how much they are needed and used to convey what is actually going on. Shot and Reverse shot is seen when Alicia and Devlin are speaking to one another… using Coens version of filming inside the convo…. sense of presence in the conversation. Alicia becomes the more dominate character towards the end of the scene as she raises her voice and also the camera angle changes and she is standing higher than Devlin. The camera angles really did a great job conveying what is going on in this scene.