4 years ago1,000+ Views
One thing that's been drilled into my head after classes and classes centered around film studies is the idea of intertextuality in film. To put it simply and not bore you with a wall of text, intertextuality is the relationship films have with each other.
The easiest way to explore this idea is to look into the body of work of a single director and try to find connections between each film.
With the help of some video essays and two films by Bong Joon-ho, we can see the idea in action even in its simplest form.
Oh! Before we continue, I should let you know the rest of this card will contain spoilers for both Snowpiercer and Mother. So, if those were movies you wanted to see... Well, go ahead. I'll still be here.


Tony Zhou's Every Frame a Painting is a series of video essays dedicated to film form. In the video above, he analyzes the use of the Telephoto Profile Shot. Over the course of four short minutes Zhou's analysis of the use of this shot boils down to how important scenes are shot in profile throughout the film. He also makes another point that the telephoto profile shot adds a feeling of voyeurism to the film and how it highlights the climax of the movie.


In another video, Zhou revisits another Bong Joon-ho film; Snowpiercer (2013). In the video above Zhou dissects the same kind of shot in a different way. Most of the film is shot using this profile view of our characters but Zhou explains that it's more indicative of the character's choice/history. He also highlights Joon-ho's ability to show the audience a decision visually instead of using dialogue.

Understanding Art House - Snowpiercer

Let's take a look at another video essay about the same film. Nerdwriter's analysis of Snowpiercer is much more in-depth. He dissects the Snowpiercer's color schemes, position, narrative in relation to how it was filmed, and much more. His analysis compares the linearity of the film -- how the characters are moving forward and back -- versus the idea of lateral response. Nerdwriter links all of these pieces to the idea of class in American society.

The Intertextual Nature of Film

After watching these video essays it gets a little easier to understand how all film is connected. Even in the video essays themselves, intertextuality can be seen. In Nerdwriter's analysis of Snowpiercer, he briefly mentions Every Frame a Painting and his analysis of the telephoto profile shot.
And by looking at the dates each video was uploaded you can see that "Mother" was up a month before Nerdwriter's "Understanding Art House" essay. The influence of one on the other can easily be seen.
It's a reminder that film (and media in general) doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's a reminder that everything has a chance to influence someone else, even if the creator didn't intend it to be that way.
Anyway, what do you guys think? Are there any films you can think of that are intertextual?
@shannonl5 Unfortunately, I'm one of those people that's ONLY seen Citizen Kane. Although, I will admit that I am definitely interested in checking out his other work!
@paulisaverage check out his King Lear, it's got this amazingly gloomy ambiance that really captures the tone of the play. All of his Shakespeare work was really incredible.
I loved Snowpiercer, I'm glad you posted this because now I know what to watch next. Have you seen any Orson Welles? His films all seem to evolve from one another as his career progressed.