This videographic essay stood out because it functions as a critique and exploration on multiples levels. It is both a meta exploration of the videographic essay form, and an attempt to actually provide insight for a particular set of films which it are at one point examined in the video. Furthermore, the video combines textual and visual elements in a manner that I have never seen before.
First the video functions on a meta level when it introduces the notion of “audiovisual transnational translatability”. This topic is not explored strictly through the analysis of foreign and domestic films that remake one another, but rather this topic is explored through the process with which other videographic essayist have approached it. That is to say, Grant is interested in how authors like Kogonada compare the dueling nature of multinational film titles in his video “What is neorealism?”, as well as the actual conclusions such videos draw. To achieve this multi-layered inspection, Grant visually introduces the software-based editing process with which multi-screen videos are made (using a screen cap of editing taking place in Final Cut), and as well as analysis of Kogonada’s video. She uses the two sources to explain how one might explore audiovisual transnational translatability, before revealing her own take on such exploration. Grant’s own exploration of transnational film remakes echo’s the style of Kogonada’s. She uses vertical split screen and text to highlight the differences between two horror films – an Uruguayan original and its US remake. Grant note that her exploration of the transnational films arrives at a similar conclusions to Kogonada’s exploration – in both cases, the foreign films use longer shots, and linger on the seemingly unimportant while the American films rush in order to provide as much exposition as possible. But the similarity in these explorations is not the conclusion to Grant’s video. She goes on to make the point that such multiscreen explorations are “eminently suited to the epistemology and hermeneutics of cinematic intertextuality.” Or rather, the multiscreen analysis of transnational films is an ideal mode of exploration because it intentionally forces comparison and highlights differences – simultaneously guiding the viewer’s eye and encouraging the eye to conduct its own investigation.
I think it’s also worth pointing out that Grant takes a unique and effective approach towards quoting literary texts. She uses a screenshot of the text represented in a word processing document instead of typing the text directly to screen. This has the effect of making it seems as through the words are still on the page of the book, highlighted by a white background on an otherwise black screen. The reason I find this technique so compelling is because it seems to lend some inherent academic qualities to the video. As a viewer, I don’t expect to read an excerpt from an academic text when watching a video. But concretely tying the text to its academic source and reminding me of the written word’s literary roots acts as a signal of the sophisticated nature of the argument. It adds a critical tone to Grant’s piece which is echoed in her voiceover performance.