On Thursday 17th January, 2019, A-level film studies classes from St Simon Stock Catholic School went on a trip to a spectator-ship talk, specifically engineered for our course, based around the musical ‘La La Land’, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and directed by Damien Chazelle. This topic of spectator-ship is about how the audience watches a film and how the director wants the audience to view it; it is the chosen area for one of our exams. Therefore, the talk was a very useful event to attend.
It was based at Depot Cinema in Lewes, East Sussex and consisted of us, of course, being talked to about the film; the context of its production – focusing on the director’s passion and efforts behind the project and other aspects of the process that lead to this brilliant achievement. There was, early on, a screening of the film, to make the talk easier to understand for those who hadn’t seen the film. The talk addressed Chazelle’s inter-textual references, of which there were many, the conventions and sub versions that are scattered across the film and much more. Not only was it a person talking to us but it had a substantial, inclusive Q&A element throughout, so it was also proactive for us all.
As a film studies student, it was a useful and enjoyable experience for me. The topics and aspects of the film that were addressed were fascinating and helped me understand the concept of spectator-ship and I walked away having thoroughly enjoyed myself and feeling confident about the subject. The attendance was great and filled the cinema to the brim and was, ultimately, a successful venture. If it ever were to be repeated for future A Level Film Studies classes, I would highly recommend it for as many schools as could attend.
Jerome Harrison, Year 12 Film Studies Student