Thursday, September 8, 2011


And with those two words, a bold twenty-six year old kicked off what is arguably the greatest film ever made, Citizen Kane. Think about that for a minute - Welles was less than ten years older than you, and he co-wrote, directed, and starred in the movie that redefined cinema for the modern age, and whose poster now hangs on our classroom wall. To make matters all the more Herculean, it was also Welles' first film.

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to an interview he gave the BBC in the 60's. Welles was asked what inspired him to overcome fear and self-doubt to create his masterpiece:

"[From] ignorance...sheer ignorance. There is no confidence to equal it. It's only when you know something about a profession that you are timid or careful."

What a perfect place to begin. Welcome to Lit & Film. Regardless of our past experience with cinema, be it casual, well informed, or a card carrying Harry film geek (like me), we are all in a new space. The deliberate and critical study of the technical, metaphorical, and metaphysical parallels between literature and film is most likely new for most of us in the room. Good.

Let's take advantage of that and embrace the ideology of a master like Welles. Let's not be intimidated by what we think we don't know or terms we aren't familiar with. Let's challenge ourselves to discuss and write about what we see on the page and on the screen, and without concern for the hobgoblin that is the fear of what others might think. And perhaps most importantly, let's have fun doing it.

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