Film criticism, film scholarship and the video essay

Andrew McWhirter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Taking as its starting point the opinions of film critics interviewed at International Film Festivals in the UK and North America, this research note argues that a newer form of film criticism in video essays, essentially short films about films, have become increasingly popular with professionals, amateurs, and in particular cinephile academics. As well as consciously championing the form, there has been a concerted effort by scholars to construct frameworks for what constitutes audiovisual essays. Beginning by contextualizing the video essay in visual history, from remix culture and the essay film to public service television and home video content, this research note then explores some of the limitations of the form, such as required skill-sets and legal barriers to entry, before discussing possible motivations behind scholars adopting the form quicker than industry practitioners. The analysis takes place with an awareness of the video essay's potential as a converged form of film criticism with an opportunity to augment and perhaps even decentre the dominance of text-based criticism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Early online date15 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • film and media studies
  • criticism
  • audio-visual resources
  • video essays


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