Each week, we interview a Cinema Studies professor on their relationship with film. First up is Christopher Donovan, sci–fi connoisseur and House Dean of Gregory. Be sure to check 34st.com for the full interview.
Street: What originally got you interested in film?
Christopher Donovan: I can’t recall not being interested in film. My favorite childhood memory is being maybe five or so, and my father acting out the last half–hour of Jaws with my Fisher Price deep–sea explorer set, with a cute rubber dolphin contributing an impressive change–of–pace performance as the killer shark.
Street: What do you think will win Best Picture at the Oscars? What do you think deserves it?
CD: One has to assume that The Artist will take home the trophy. I greatly prefer Hugo, but if the choice is between an American celebration of the early days of French cinema and a French celebration of the early days of American cinema, one can hardly claim that the Academy is tapping into the zeitgeist.
Street: Last week we ran a feature on the artistic potential (or lack thereof) of 3D film technology. Where do you stand on the issue? Do you think a great 3D film has been made yet, and do you think there will be one?
CD: I think Hugo makes marvelous use of 3D technology… while watching the film, I was reminded how many critics bemoaned the advent of the sound era and forecast the death of cinema. I bet Scorsese remembers this, too. That said, so far 3D has been mostly a blight, with the exception of Hugo and Avatar and some interesting documentaries last year, such as Pina, about modern dance, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams, about the Chauvet cave drawings. As such, I would never see 3D as the norm, but rather a tool to be employed both when the subject calls for it and when filmmakers are legitimately inspired to conceptualize their work in an added dimension.