Columbia University Film Professor Annette Insdorf discusses her latest book, “Cinematic Overtures: How to Read Opening Scenes”, including film clips. The book offers insights into more than 40 films, covering a unique amalgam of high-profile titles and undiscovered gems. From American classics like “Apocalypse Now”, “Taxi Driver”, and “Schindler’s List” to foreign films including “Hiroshima, mon amour”, “The Piano”, and “A Separation”, they demonstrate how a great movie provides in the first few minutes, the keys by which to unlock the rest of the cinematic text. In addition to establishing the tone—which can be tense, ironic, romantic, frightening, comic, nostalgic, or self-conscious—the opening introduces meaningful motifs.
The book results from Annette Insdorf’s vast experience teaching film history and criticism at Yale and Columbia. It refines her search for the internal coherence of the movie (does it succeed within its own terms, as established by the opening?), and for the film's resonance beyond the frame.
A book-signing at the LACMA Store with Annette Insdorf follows the program.
Free, tickets required.
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