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About the film talks

film discussions aim to build a unique community of talk about film, the foundation of which is represented by principles. Thus, the film talks have a particular organization and intentionality. Understanding these will help you decide whether and how to participate in the discussions. The most important points are:

  • Focus on impact, not film ratings. The reason for extended discussion of a film on is that it has had a notable impact on our lives. Although the best made films often have the greatest impact, this is not necessarily the case. An artistic film can get too wrapped up in being well-crafted, and a clumsily made film can hit on something that strikes us deeply. So, when talking of a film’s craftsmanship, discussions should stay connected to the impact that artistic decisions have had on us, not merely admiring art for art’s sake (that’s a good thing to do, but it’s not what is mainly here for). is about the quality of a film’s impact on us, not about rating and scoring films. For each film, there are links to traditional film ratings and reviews on other sites.
  • Heavy focus on selected films; light focus on some of the latest films. Since is about the impact films have had on us, we focus on films that indeed have had a notable impact. This means you’ll find here extended discussions of selected films from any time period, along with short discussions of some of the latest films. The point is diving deeper into a film through great discussion of how it has enriched, enlivened, and changed us. is mostly about extending the impact of great films, although we do provide short thoughts on a wide range of film.
  • Avoid spoilers, yet also foster deeper discussion. In their focus on film ratings, traditional film reviews tend to reveal much about the film, wandering into spoilers without really warning you. To avoid this, splits film talks about great films into two parts: one for before and one for after viewing — and we may also do a separate discussion on the film’s backstory. Via these different talks, our main focus is on in-depth discussion of great films but, in addition, we often post before viewing talks to introduce how we might engage with a wide range of films. Here’s more of what we mean:
    • Before viewing talks. Without spoilers, these introduce the film and provide a short description of whether and why the film is worth your time, the types of questions the film explores, and major notes about the quality of filmcraft. When there is not an After viewing talk for the film, we allow comments to have spoilers (we ask that people provide spoiler warnings).
    • After viewing talks. These are the meat of film talks. They explore films in detail and discuss the various ways in which selected films have enriched, enlivened, and changed us. For After viewing talks, there are no restrictions on or warnings required for spoilers. After viewing talks work from the film itself, without bringing in discussion of backstory elements (e.g., how the film came to be made, history of the book on which the film is based, etc.).
    • Backstory talks. For those times when there are substantial behind-the-scenes stories that add depth to the impact of the film, we may include a Backstory talk. For Backstory talks, there are no restrictions on or warnings required for spoilers.
  • Moderation. A wide range of comments is encouraged, yet to help to keep the discussion on track as we build the community, we monitor and review all comments. This is primarily to ensure that comments are respectful and directed toward exploring the film’s impact.

As the community builds and we learn better ways to keep the discussions focused, we’ll make adjustments. We hope that you will find value in film discussions, and I'm always open to suggestions — use the "post a reply" option below, or email me at:

Randy Heffner

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