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>   I work in the film industry but all of my knowledge comes >from
>practical experience and simply enjoying watching films. Now >this List
>has me curious about the analytical side of things. So where >do I start?
>   What's a good primer to introduce the subject to an >essentially
>non-academic type? Maybe then I'll have some idea what the >hell you folks
>are talking about.
 
Well , would not say that there is an easy starting point.  Analysis is not a
linear activity nor is learning the role of different interpertitive modes.
 There are many different texts you could read depending on what perspective
you desired (historical, formalist, mainstream, genere, deconstructive,
semitoic, auter etc....)  Some text that I got alot out of are as follows:
 
Denis Hollier:  Against Architecture the writings of George Bataille
Scott MacDonald: A Critical Cinema 2
Teresa de Lauretis: Technologies of gender
Richard Dyer: The matter of Images
Kaja Silverman: The Subject of Semiotics
Stephen Heath:  Questions of Cinema
Linda Williams: Figures of Desire
Rolland Barthes: The Pleasure of the text
Slavoj Zizek: The Sublime Object of Ideology
 
Clearly there are tons of texts you could read on the topic!  I suggest these
texts since none of them participates (IMHO) in the stupid activity of
explaining how to view a film.  This is a mix of film criticism and general
theory.  They all ofer conceptual models that you can observe and judge for
yourself.  All will teach a great deal about the process of looking and
interacting with a text, filmic or otherwise.  I found the Zizek and the
MacDonald the most entertaining. The Silverman and the Heath are very strong
works and you do not need alot of background to work with them.  The
Silverman is the most complete text in that it does a great deal of
explaining, I believe It is a stadnard text for undergrads in film and
semiotic studies.
 
Hope this helps
-D.H.