Film Studies Kids These Days

Students last year at the University of Central Florida, having completed a documentary on RW for film class, put the fruit of their labor on YouTube for all to see. The piece is more clever than ambitious, however, as what they did was simply take an existing documentary (included on the current DVD release of RW), drop out all the commentary and shots of talking heads (film industry types opining), then put their own commentary and heads in place. Thus they achieved high production values for relatively low cost and effort.

Unless you’ve seen the original, the piece is pretty impressive. Still, for a student project, intended to demonstrate the knowledge the makers have acquired, it’s reasonably effective. But what is it the students have learned? Yes, Jeff is the protagonist, but guys, guys, no way is Lisa the antagonist–that’s Thorwald (Lisa, if you wish, can be labeled the deuteragonist). And I can’t believe some of the things coming out of the mouths of these 20-year-old kids: Jeff feels he’s too “inadequate” to have Lisa as a girlfriend or wife; RW is the first film to present a voyeur as its hero; one of the concerns of RW is feminism. Where are they getting this stuff? Not from the film, that’s for sure.


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