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Complete Question Explanation

The correct answer choice is (B).

Author Perspective questions are hard to prephrase with anything specific, because the author will agree with everything they said, and that's usually a lot! Focus on the Main Point, author's tone, and what you remember of their Viewpoint, and use that to sort answers into losers and contenders. Then, if you have more than one contender, go find evidence in the passage to support one of them.

Answer choice (A): While this may be true about early nonfiction films, this answer is far too broad. Our author might be fine with a retrospective of films all by one modern director or actor, or a gallery showing of paintings all by one artist.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. The author clearly thinks that when it comes to early nonfiction films, the reaction of the audience will be impacted by how those films are shown. When a bunch of similar films of this type are all shown together, that's dull for the audience. Programming, according to the last paragraph, allows films to shine because they are given life and context. There is ample evidence that at least in the case of these films, mixing up different kinds of works (interplay) matters to the audience. This can be true, because in this case it IS true.

Answer choice (C): This is an opposite answer, because it is the presenters who have learned something from the vaudeville tradition, and their wisdom is being ignored. Archivists and festivals aren't too beholden to (paying too much attention to, being too guided by) that tradition, because they aren't paying enough attention to it.

Answer choice (D): We have no way of knowing what early cinemagoers thought about genre, although it seems likely that they COULD tell a nonfiction film from a comedy or a drama.

Answer choice (E): The author of the passage is not concerned with historians and academics, and even mentions that they might find it useful to study early nonfiction films in isolation from other types of films. It is the audience about whom he is concerned, not wanting them to have an inauthentic experience of these films.
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B didn't jump out as an attractive answer choice to me. I was in between A and C (and chose C in the end) because of line 48-50 when it said film presenters' programming idea is based on vaudeville tradition. A was attractive as well because of line 24-27, which said "gathering together several short films by the same maker/studio... is often profoundly dull for the viewer." Can you please explain why B is the correct answer and where the support is for B?
 Adam Tyson
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See the explanation above, now that we've provided one, annrachweila, and let us know if that doesn't clear it up for you. I suspect that there may have been more than a few students who struggled with the old-fashioned language of "beholden to" in answer C as well as the "ill behooves" phrase in the last sentence of the passage.
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I also chose C twice, on my first go and on blind review. I was definitely between B and C, but I hesitated on B because this passage uses language about "art," and I wrongly assumed that art was talking about visual art practices as mentioned in the first paragraph. This is wrong because in the very first sentence, it states: "In exhibiting works of art—whether in a gallery, a cinema, or anywhere else." I also hesitated with B because I didn't think the author said anything anywhere about audience response, because I was going off of this line: "Early cinemagoers never saw a collection of similar films screened together; they almost always saw a program that was a mix of everything from dramas and comedies to travelogues and news."

BUT, I now see the line before it, which states: "Gathering together several short films... is often profoundly dull for the viewer," is the better reference line. We can infer from this that the way in which one exhibits art will have an affect on the audience's response. Either good or bad.

And onto why (C) is wrong, I see from the previous explanation that being "beholden" to a practice is not the case here. In fact, these practices are appropriating vaudeville styles and claiming them as authentic to nonfiction short films.

Would love a teacher's confirmation of this thought process!


 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Great work, Rebecca. I'd say you found some good textual support for answer choice (B). One thing I'd recommend if you find yourself stuck between two answer choices on this sort of question is to really break down the language in the relevant sentence. We can see it's saying that modern exhibitors need to learn from past programming decisions. What would they have to learn? They have to remember that the nonfiction films were part of a variety of films shown in one sitting. And yes, as you noted, it was done this way because otherwise audiences would get bored.

Great work understanding this question!
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 Yvette X
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Hi! I wonder why B is not broad? B says "When several works of art are exhibited together, the audience's response can be greatly affected by the interplay among those works." However, the passage can only tell us when the early films are exhibited together, the audience's response can be affected.
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 Jeff Wren
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Hi Yvette,

In answering a question about which of the following statements the author would most likely agree with, you want to read each answer from the point of view of the author based on what is conveyed in the passage with the understanding that the correct answer can (and sometimes does) expand on or extrapolate from the author's line of reasoning.

In the passage, the author clearly believes that how early films are exhibited together in a retrospective can significantly affect an audience's experience of the works. In fact, that view basically underlies the entire point of the passage, which is that retrospectives entirely consisting of early nonfiction films are poorly received because the nonfiction films were never meant to be shown exclusively together (see Answer A to the Main Point question 1).

For a more specific example of this, the author mentions how showing several short films by the same maker or studio together "is often profoundly dull for the viewer" (line 27).

Since the author considers films to be "works of art" (as discussed in lines 1-3), the passage has shown an example of works of art than can affect audiences differently depending on which films are shown together. This example is enough to show that "audience's reactions can be greatly affected by the interplay of among those works." The key word in this answer is the verb "can." All that is necessary to show that something can happen is to show one example of it happening. If the answer had been worded stronger, using a word like "always," then that would have been exaggerated/wrong.

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