“Americans use the movies to talk to themselves about who they are.”
-Jane Smiley, Ten Days in the Hills (2006)
Over the course of the twentieth century, film has become the dominant story-telling medium of the modern world. While we still address ethical, social, philosophical, and psychological concerns in the printed word and the plastic arts, in live drama and political speech, it is in the movie theater that more people and more diverse groups of them gather to view and review stories that pose and offer solutions to problems personal and social, national and global. By studying film and the art of cinematic story telling we not only study ourselves but we also learn about the primary way in which we talk about ourselves, how we represent ourselves to others and to ourselves.