On Thursday 17th January, 2019, A-level film studies classes from St Simon Stock Catholic School went on a trip to a spectatorship 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 spectatorship 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 intertextual references, of which there were many, the conventions and subversions 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 spectatorship 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