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Thoughts on Alain Bergala’s Creative Analysis

Thoughts on Alain Bergala’s Creative Analysis

Toward a Creative Analysis, is a provocative and inspiring collection of Bergala’s thoughts on developing approaches to teaching and learning with film. It was a richly rewarding read which led me to critique aspects of my practice as a teacher using film as well as reflect on recent experiences as a student wrestling with creative practice.

Bergala’s passionately argues for film pedagogy in which theory and practice are closely aligned. He presents ‘Creative analysis’ as a means which ‘would prepare students for, or initiate them into, creative practice” (Bergala, 2016 p.74) whilst distinguishing it from classical film analysis, ‘whose only purpose is to understand, to decode, to “read the film,” as they say in schools’ (ibid.). Bergala illustrates this view with a quote from Renoir which essentially contends that in order to fully access a film (or painting) and be “worthy” of the cinema once must be a filmmaker or look on a film as a filmmaker. This idea could be construed as rather elitist, especially when considering his rather scathing view of a more casual cinema-going culture in which he equates “mainstream consumption” with ‘rampant amnesia’’(ibid. p.53). Nevertheless, it does raise important questions about the role of creative practice in film education and the role of film educators in managing such experiences with their students. I recall conversations with film studies colleagues bemoaning the disconnect between theoretical analysis and actual filmmaking practice. As English teachers, they also felt their inexperience of the technical aspects of production compounded this detachment.

Bergala’s description of a pedagogy of cinematic creation that encourages ‘fundamental mental operations before considering the technical operation’ (ibid. p.76) is a powerful idea which expands the potential for both learning and expression beyond the narrow focus of an end product. The idea of “moving slightly back upstream in the creative process” and immersing oneself in “the vivid peak of the cinematic process” (ibid. p.74) is a liberating concept and certainly a phase that I have not paid adequate attention to in my own experience of ‘being’ creative and encouraging creativity in others.

Alain, and Madeline Whittle (2016) The Cinema Hypothesis : Teaching Cinema in the Classroom and beyond / Alain Bergala ; Translated from the French by Madeline Whittle. Print. Film museum Synema Publikationen ; Volume 28.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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