Voice Overs & “DVD commentaries”

Video Essays and the three weeks ahead. 

For the next few weeks we will be looking at Video Essays in detail. To start us off, we will be looking closely at this New York/New York study which examines NYC from the point of view of two contemporaneous films, Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters (1986) and Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver (1976). Please watch it ahead of Thursday’s meeting. We will be screening it, but I want everyone to come prepared to discuss it in detail.

New York / New York from Reverse Shot on Vimeo.

For the next few weeks we’ll be exploring what it means to compose a video essay and the various ways we can do so, following Reverse Shot’s various takes.

NY NY 01 NY NY 02
NY NY 03 NY NY 04
NY NY 05 NY NY 06

Here are some other examples of these “Voice Over/DVD commentary”-style video essays:

– Matt Zoller Seitz: Videos on Wes Anderson. He created an entire collection of videos on the Anderson films which complement his book, The Wes Anderson Collection. Here he is on Moonrise Kingdom, which we looked at earlier in the semester.


– You can also find some more examples on YouTube on WALL-E, The Dark Knight, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

– You can also check out The New York Times’ “Anatomy of a Scene” feature. They get directors to discuss a scene, but the spirit remains the same:


About Manuel Betancourt

Manuel is a New York City-based writer, editor, and critical thinker. He's a pop culture enthusiast and an eternal Buffy fan. His work has appeared in Film Comment, TheAtlantic.com, Backstage Magazine, Vice, INTO, Esquire.com, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Catapult, among others. He's a regular contributor to Remezcla and Electric Literature. | @bmanuel
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