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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Art of Overanalyzing Movies

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In Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino wrote a funny sequence where a German officer

Mixes up the story of King Kong with the story of the American slave trade. Every question

He asks has the same answer for both.




The German officer and in turn

Tarantino clearly think King Kong is an allegory for the slave trade, yet

the creators of King Kong have repeatedly denied this interpretation of the movie, saying there are no hidden meanings.

It's just a story to them.

This disconnect between creator and audience brings to light

One of the most important questions in film discussion.

Is an interpretation still valid if it's not what the artist intended?

The answer has broad implications for analyzing art.

If meaning is objective, then discussion becomes much more narrow.

Critics must take the artist's word as law, and only look for meanings that the artist consciously intended.

On the other hand, if meaning is subjective,

a critic can find any message they want in a film, and that means anybody can throw around any theory

They want English teachers can overanalyze curtains no matter what the artist says. So where is the line?

Let's have a look at how artists talk about and make their movies to figure out the best mindset towards

Analyzing into over analyzing film some directors do clearly state their intentions for a movie in a rare interview from the Coen brothers

They mentioned that The Big Lebowski is based on noir detective novels from the 30s and 40s, but with a humorous twist

it has the main character in over his head a

Complicated and morally ambiguous narrative and an unreliable supporting cast but instead of smoking cigarettes like most noir heroes

He smokes marijuana one of the several humorous twists on the conventional detective stereotypes for deeper movie ideas

many directors create a movie with an idea in mind but not only will directors hide the meaning of their movies they may even film

The movie deceptively in American Psycho director mary harron had William Dafoe

Portrayed his character in three different ways the first way the characters thinks Patrick Bateman killed Paul Allen

I just wanted to know if you know

The second he thinks he didn't do it people just

Disappear and the third he's unsure to think that one of his friends killed him for no reason whatsoever would be too ridiculous

Isn't that right Patrick?

Harran edited these poor trails together to have the character constantly switch his opinion of Bateman between takes the choice creates a movie full of

Uncertainty and it adds to the frenzy toxic male dominance within the movie angly used the exact same technique in Brokeback Mountain

I played it as though I knew what was going on with Jake's character Jack and that he had been cheating on me with men

And I knew about the gay bashing and I also played it as though I had no idea that

This is how my husband died and those takes got merged in the final film

So I don't actually know Aang

Knows the truth in his head and it's not important to me because I think the ambiguity is what is the strength of that scene?

And what's heartbreaking about it when filmmakers create a movie with multiple meanings they tend to keep their intent a secret

I'm not gonna say what it is


You may not I never talk about themes

it's a very big shame when something is finished and then

People want you to translate it back into words. It never will work

It never will go back into words and be what the film is. It's like describing a piece of music

You don't hear the music. You just hear that see the words

It's better to let people conjure up their own ideas having seen and experience the film

I mean they want you to say I think you know

This is a story of the duality of man of the duplicity of governments something like that

and you know, I hear people try to do it sometimes it

Usually is bullshit or if the work is good. It's it's sort of

Kubrick might be the best director to look at when discussing

Overanalyzing because his movies are some of the most analyzed in American cinema

The documentary room 237 focuses entirely on fan theories about the shining some of the ideas suggested in the documentary are pretty ridiculous

Like when they claim Kubrick airbrushed his own face into the clouds as the family drives to the hotel after hearing about his intense shooting

schedules and extremely detailed production design fans have seemed to build a mythos around Kubrick believing

Put specific meaning into every little thing despite all of the sort of apocryphal stories about me almost all of which are untrue

You don't have unlimited resources and they do watch the budget and you know

You do have to account for what you're doing the stories about cubic largely ignore how he himself described his shooting process

He says he actually doesn't always put a particular meaning in his directing choices

I'm pretty good at generalized statements when I'm asked what is this but I still can't tell somebody what has the glory is about I

Find it's much more of an intuitive process more like what I would imagine writing music is like rather than a sort of

Structuring an argument this intuitive approach doesn't make Kubrick's films any less meaningful

It just means while he's making the movie his intent isn't always immediately obvious to him

He instead makes choices that feel right instead of constantly dealing with hidden meanings

I never deal with subtext when I'm writing ever ever ever. I keep it about the text

I keep it about the scenario

Because I know there's a lot there but I don't want to I don't want to know it right now

So where does that leave room for analysis in both cases where directors hide the meaning and where they don't work with a specific meaning?

In mind the viewer can't know the objective truth, but that doesn't mean analysis is hopeless the very basic things

Especially from where mr. Orange is coming from I'm dying and I want to go to the hospital

but just in writing those words just all this stuff just started pouring out and that was when I realized it was a

Father/son story going on and in this interview Tarantino reveals a crucial truth about filmmaking

He shows us how he subconsciously put a deeper meaning in his movie

It doesn't matter if directors work with one meaning in mind or work purely on intuition

Everybody brings their prior

Experiences with them in the creative choices they make and that doesn't stop at the director every person involved in the process of filmmaking

Places their worldview into the work and a good analysis reveals these hidden meanings to me. It's very obvious

I mean, of course King Kong is a metaphor for the slave trade

I'm not saying the makers of King Kong meant it to be that way

But that's what that's the movie that they made whether they mention make it or not

This analysis works because it fits with the time period the movie was made it's not only convincing but the analysis also makes the movie

More impactful some interpretations seem to miss that analysis should add something meaningful to the movie in this particular interpretation

King Kong shows how white people of the 1930s may have feared the free black elysion in America?

not only is that interpretation well supported but it also invites the viewer to think about the movie in a fresh and

Interesting way even if it is true that Kubrick airbrushed his face into the clouds

How does that add to the movie and strangely enough?

Maybe some stories are better enjoyed without analysis

Kubrick once said if you submit to a completely logical and detailed analysis of a supernatural movie it will eventually appear absurd

the true measure of a great supernatural thriller

He says isn't in it's hidden meaning

but in if the audience had a good fright believed the film they were watching and retained some sense of it with Brokeback Mountain the

True analysis of Jack's death isn't what matters the fact that Angley leaves the audience

Uncertain of Jack's fate makes his ending that much more heartbreaking. There's no sense of closure for us or for Ennis

So maybe the next time you watch the ending of 2001 a Space Odyssey don't obsess over the details

Kubrick actually did reveal what he was going for in that

I'll link his interpretation in the description

but before you click on that watch the ending one more time and think about the


It evokes because even with a particular meaning in mind

He brick-built that ending based not around his own meaning but around how he wanted it to make you feel

So when your teacher over analyzes blue curtains in a story the problem isn't that it's not what the artist meant

The problem may be that the teacher got so caught up in analysis that they missed what made the book so great in the first



Big problem with overanalyzing film comes from under researching if an analysis is

Inconsistent with the rest of the movie or doesn't have a lot of concrete evidence

It doesn't hold up

Well in most areas of film criticism

Education is key to coming up with the best


When it comes to actual film production the same principles apply to learn more about filming professional footage with tools

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The Description of The Art of Overanalyzing Movies