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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. [German] [German] [German] 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 Oh 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 emotion 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 place a 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 analysis When it comes to actual film production the same principles apply to learn more about filming professional footage with tools You already own you can sign up for the DIY filming class on Skillshare Skillshare has over 20,000 classes that cover tons of topics from business to filmmaking the first 500 people to click on the link in the description below can Get two months of completely free access to Skillshare. That’s the filmmaking class plus thousands of others ranging from creative writing marketing and design Thanks for watching and thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this video

100 thoughts on “The Art of Overanalyzing Movies

  1. I've been writing movie scripts for about two years now. A lot of the time, I think about hidden meanings, but mostly, I just write whatever feels right.

  2. Some songwriter: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer used his glowing nose to guide Santa through fog and save Christmas.

    "Deep" thinkers: This is a song about how you're only liked if you're useful. It's communist propaganda.

  3. Dutch author Harry Mulisch was always very accepting of and interested in his readers' interpretations, admitting that readers would discover meaning that might have slipped in unconsciously, and viewing these interpretations as part of the artistic process.

  4. 'Objective' meaning isn't meaning that was intended by a creator. In fact, as far as art is concerned, we can't really have 'objective' meaning, and the closest we can get is agreements about meanings, such as 'blue means sadness' (it would only be objective if blue couldn't possibly mean something else, regardless of who's watching). It's misleading to use the subjective/objective distinction, and it's much more useful to think about why someone is interpreting in the way they are (because all interpretation is partly social and partly psychological; it's like the former is being fused with the latter).

    A creator can't tell us what their work means; they can only tell us what they were trying to do when they created it. An author can't tell us that a certain character represents (e.g.) black people in America, and can only say that they were trying to convey something (though they might have been trying to convey the same thing that we're finding, this is still a coincidence, as we could easily interpret it in other ways, and they could be lying).

    All that being said, while we can't really disagree about what a work of art means, we can point out when someone seems to be stretching things a bit too far. If I claimed that Robocop represents the struggle between Freudian and Jungian psychoanalytic thought, I'd have to do a lot of work to show you how I've been led to think that, and unless I do a good job of explaining it you'd think I'm just making it up to sound clever (and you'd probably be right!).

  5. If you create something and never show another living soul then it means whatever you created it to mean. But the moment you share art, your creation isn’t solely yours anymore. It becomes open to the interpretation of the viewer. As a creator your function is to connect your art with other people.

  6. When a coffee cup appears in a scene there is a big chance that the coffee cup is just a coffee cup.

  7. i join art competitions often and almost always i have to create meanings for my photography so that judges can even see my art.ive won awards more off my skill to spew bullshit to old people instead of actually taking a game changing photo.

  8. That "William Dafoe" at 2:01 was pretty jarring xD

    But it's all good man, anyone could make that mistake.

  9. Woah hold on. If meaning is objective then the author (or anybody) can't be an absolute authority on the meaning, because then meaning would be arbitrary.

    The meaning being objective means it's open for discussion/discovery.

  10. Unlike real life we're not allowed to look wherever we want in a movie, what we see was put there by a person so to we yearn for it to have some special meaning because we look for patterns in everything. Or maybe we just like feeling smart.

  11. The way I see it the author and the audience are both subject to the same forces. We all come from a particular society with a particular culture which we have a particular relationship with which will in turn shape our ultimate worldview. Our own worldview will shape how we read a piece as well as how it's made. Objectivity is impossible and I find the pretense of objectivity to be insufferable and dishonest; our subjective personal universe will always shape our understanding of any text. Sometimes I'm arguing with the english teacher about the curtains, and sometimes I see a story about trauma and running from reality where the author just wanted to spook us a bit. It all depends on how you see the world.

  12. Analysing and speculation is really great, especially if it's an ongoing TV series or will have multiple movies in the future. It just keeps the audience forever on edge and keeps people talking about what they think will happen or how something will happen.

    Therefore, I think even though analysing can become quite far fetched or simply over the top, it's still a great thing and everyone's point is still valid if backed up of course.

  13. “The problem isn’t that its 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 place”

  14. Maybe if you understand something behind the choice of blue curtains it is because you're film is art and so, he is interpreted like every others forms of art. Don't see "over"analyzing like a bad thing, you'll be grateful of yourself.

  15. If artists can put things in subconsciously maybe the blue curtains DID reflect the characters depression unbeknownst to the author!

  16. If you want to hear people over-analyze a movie go to a film festival. They will even analyze the fn popcorn saying it's repetitive of the fall of the human spirit in today's over analyzed world.

  17. Decisions made when filming are always of a practical nature and almost never with some nefarious deeper meaning in-bedded in whats shown on screen.. its the same with art work. critics will extrapolate reasons that never existed. its like..the symbolism within the red clouds you painted is so profound.. why did you do it? I ran out of blue paint..

  18. I over analysed this video and subconscious trying to get a deeper meaning of me wasting ten minutes to get a metafor and convincing that there is meaningful to this video…. gosh

  19. 0:11 But the teacher is right, maybe not in the final analysis but by looking for something. Much like movie making there is little point showing/mentioning something unless it has some relevance. If you were making a movie, and the set dresser used blue curtains because they were the first ones on the shelf in the prop room, or they chose them because they matched the couch, then yes you could be over analysing the curtains. If the director just wants a furnished room to film in and couldn't care less if they were red, blue or pink curtains yes you are over analysing. BUT, if the director breaks from showing the characters in dialogue and shows a close up of the blue curtains, then you need to be asking yourself why… what is important with the curtains…? Is it the colour? Does it reflect his blue mood? As an author of written word only, there is no need to dress the set. The characters are in the room about to talk, yes give a quick description to set the scene, but if you mention the colour it has to have significance. Same as if you are writing a script, and you mention the colour of the curtains, it must have significance, otherwise set dressing would be simply 'curtains'. If set dressing says 'blue curtains', it suggests we the audience should be aware of that, so we may get a shot to focus on that.

  20. Sure you can overanalys things but when the author says "the curtains are blue, for no other reason than blue" he means that but at the same time the analysis of that is that we as the viewer subcontiously know that blue is associated with cold, depression, power and so on.

    So…more like. both are right.
    I'm a painter and I can paint something without any deep thoughts behind it but oboy do I get to hear a lot of theories why that color was there or what it all means.

  21. Art is something greater then the sum of it’s parts. We can thank our interpretations for making it something more than dialogue

  22. LOL this is a true story: A teacher had asked the students to analyze a text as homework.
    Many students had analyzed the text as the teacher would and got great marks, other less so, one particular student had nearly wrote nothing and said that it was just a story not much more and he failed totally. Until the next day he took his father to the class, the father had helped his son write that analyze, oh and yes, the father was the original author of that text! 🙂

  23. Just coming from your opening shot video, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the title of this video since that video was pretty much the definition of over-analyzing a movie. Literally everyone (yes, literally literally) is hypocritical in a way so not trying to bash on you, just found it a funny coincidence 🙂

  24. Lots to digest.  Effective analysis in most fields so often depends on the bigger and longer picture.  Does someone get a rep as a liar if he tells one lie? Does one warm winter mean climate change? Analysis holds up better if one can point to numerous details that contribute to an idea.  What does one do with one solitary detail? skip it.///  A better English teacher teaches the junglings how he/she came to that conclusion? I know the curtain  was not used here as a serious example but there are teachers who still need to work on their symbols btw. The slang adj blue means sad in English, but the color does not.  In French, Italian and German, bleu, azurro and blau do not mean sad. Who says an author can't be clumsy with his/her symbols? Usually his work doesn't last that long. as for director's assertions, we think we know ourselves. We all make claims about our habits and personalities that make the people who know us say, "huh, Are you kidding?" We don't even know the impressions we make till others who live with us or work with us tell us, and then we deny or agree.

  25. I just can't shut up. If a director seriously air brushed his image, that's not worthy of serious movie analysis unless it's a surreal comedy. That would have to be enjoyed with bloopers, end credit music, fun facts about the filming and behind-the-scene gossip.

  26. Film: Introduces a character who is eating
    Me: 'oh he's hungry or greedy'
    My English teacher: 'this character has a vast emptiness inside him that needs to be filled'

  27. Even if an artist doesn't know exactly why they chose all the elements of their creation, there is still a reason and meaning for each one of their choices. Even attempts at randomness can be subverted by the subconscious. A lot of the creative process is emotional and intuitive, like a blitz chess game, and when you try to analyze your own work, it feels like analyzing a dream. There's a definite hidden meaning underlying the main message, and you definitely came up with it on your own, but it still takes a while to realize what the deeper meaning is.

  28. Even though many are against over analyzing stuff and that the artist himself said there is nothing to interpret there as he just put it there without any thought, there is a thing called sub-conscious mind that does give you those "just put it there" kind of ideas based on past experiences, what feeling a color invokes, tales of long lost time etc. In other words author choosing to specify blue might have something to do with sadness of the character even though the author himself doesn't acknowledge it but his subconscious mind made that call and people might want to see that exact thing when they over analyze those stuff.

  29. I recommend to any human being not to ask "What was the reason", but instead "What is the fruit" (effect/result). Life gets better.

  30. I heard a musician state that once you release something to the public it is no longer yours. It takes on a life of its own and can take on a different meaning based on who interprets it

  31. I enjoy when analysis is followed up with facts, rather than personal interpretation being presented as fact. I do see it a lot with these movie analysis channels, but some will present their opinion as an argument, rather than an outright statement. An argument needs Claims, Reasoning, and Evidence.

  32. A quote from the Big Chill – Sam: What's this? Nick: I'm not sure. Sam: What's it … Like what? Nick: You're so analytical. Sometimes you have to let art… flow … over you …

  33. Could the same not be said about poetry and playwriting? I always felt as though Shakespeare was overanalyzed. I'm not sure the man himself would pass a high school exam on Shakespearean literature

  34. I always thought that the ambiguity in William Dafoe's character is interrogation technique, to probe him and not to trick the audience.

  35. When I was in secondary school studying English literature we spent literally two weeks over analysing the "fog" outside of the house in the 'woman in black' which was later made into a movie with Daniel Radcliffe and what it means and one girl actually got so sick she emailed Susan hill, the author and asked her exactly what she meant.
    Her reply: "it's literally just fog"

  36. I like the idea that with analyse, you can recreate the original object with your own ideas. That way both the creation and its interpretation by the author and the interpretation of any viewer are valid.

  37. Man, one of my mums friends thought a painting I did was about sexual abuse but uh, no. Very no. I had to have an extremely awkward converstaion with my mum about it. I'm glad they both cared enough to talk to me but… yea. Made me a little nervous to draw naked women for a while.

  38. My Humanities professor said that when it comes to art, everything the artist does is intentional. Every word choice, every bit of information passed to the reader or viewer, everything. As someone who writes, I can assure you that isn't the case. Most of the time, descriptions are completely arbitrary and characters do things because it pushes the plot forward.

  39. The overall Subtext/meta narrative of "Mother!" is obvious to anyone who knows Aronofsky's prior work or has a good understanding of History.

  40. "The true measure of a great supernatural thriller isn't in its hidden meaning but in if the audience had a good fright, believed the film they were watching and retained some sense of it." KUBRICK

  41. Regardless of intent, the parallel between King Kong and the slave trade pointed out in Inglorious Bastards is still there. It's not the meaning of the film, but it's there.

  42. 0:40
    Does he? Seems appropriate to show where he says that. It's very topical to the video that there's a potential misunderstanding.

  43. The Chanel could analyze the use of color Kubrick movie .. because I think he use with intention.. and specially the movie with Tom cruise he use some moment of character the color of chakra and every stage of 7 chakra

  44. It’s very interesting the a lot
    Of technology Kubrick use in his film Odisseia we use now .. it’s really what people say after Moon Landing everything change about technology.. and maybe some inventors be inspired to create IPad , Iphone , FaceTime

  45. Really has less to do with objectivity/subjectivity and more to do with if art has absolute value and can be viewed as a separate "entity" from its creator. Good video!

  46. I find over analysis annoying sometimes. But at the same time I don't really care what the artist says something means after the fact. I'm looking at you JK Rowling

  47. bc artists can make something and know its true meaning, they put it out in the world and we take it as it is, we find something relatable in it and thats our reason that that movie is personal

  48. Without overanalyzing it, I applaud how you almost seamlessly transition into the sponsor at the end of your videos. There's obviously an extra effort going on there and it does not go unnoticed.

  49. 4:15–4:25 So does a director (or any kind of artist) need to earn a reputation of "putting meaning in every little detail" in order to make his work worth analyzing? Why do we analyze the heck out of "Shining" but not out of "Avatar" or something? And I bet you could find a lot in "Avatar" if you really want to. What's the criterion on making a movie worth analyzing?

    I think in some cases we only want confirmation for our own taste by adding more layers, symolizm, hidden meaning etc to our favorite films and by that make them even better. On the other hand, there are a lot of movies I really like, where I would think that there is not that much to analyze.

  50. Yes sometimes poets just use words that rhyme for instance and do not intend anyone to ponder their abstract nonsense.

  51. It can be an art. Some pop culture forms can be subjected to deconstruction or academic discourse, like what they do with works by Madonna in Ivy League universities.

  52. Well people are straight up bad at writing and mean everything literally but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great artists out there that write with a sophisticated level subtext, subtext is what makes art so abstract and enjoyable to me

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