Movie analysis

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Movie analysis

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5     Double-spaced (1500 words)

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Please read the directions and choose a movie from below. 5-7 full pages in length Have a title! Use a standard font (e.g. Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri) Use double-spacing Use one-inch margins Format using MLA standards Use parenthetical citations using MLA guidelines Recommendations: Formulate a thesis The thesis is the major arguable claim about your subject; the claim is what you want to suggest or assert about the subject. A strong thesis represents an informed perspective, one arrived at after serious reading and thinking. A strong thesis is a response to a tension, problem, a question, interesting anomaly, blind spot, or an apparent contradiction in the evidence that you think needs to be examined in more depth or addressed in some way. A strong thesis makes an arguable claim that requires evidence (which means that readers would not necessarily accept it at face value nor would they would accept it without question). It offers some point about the significance of your evidence that would not be immediately obvious to your readers. A strong thesis requires analysis, evidence, and reasoning to support or explain it. That is, it adds to the scholarly conversation about your subject in interesting and significant ways; it pushes the conversation in new directions. It might do one of the following: add a new thought or a new way of thinking about your subject; deepen (adds depth) to what others have said; complicate an existing perspective; challenge or questions an existing perspective; refute or offers a counter-argument for an existing perspective; note a gap or omission in the conversation, something that is not being said or examined; or apply what’s being said about one subject to other subjects. Use in-text citations Appropriate citations are crucial to the success of your essay. Citations are the way you add evidence to the claim you are making. I look for explicit indications that you have been read the texts carefully. The humanities are deeply interested in not only what it said, but also how it is said. Citations are the best way to demonstrate how a texts does what it does. Always try to weave quoted material into your own sentences. In other words, avoid dropping quotations into your text without a lead-in. Always introduce and explain the texts you are quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing. You may notice that the explanation can often require several sentences or more. Only quote “quotable” information; that is, quote when somebody says something better than you could say it yourself or when you want to capture the tone and style of another writer. For all other routine acknowledgement, paraphrase or summarize. Make sure that your citations perform real work in your text. If your essay could just as easily be understood without any of the cited material, then you are simply quote-dropping. Be careful not to take your quoted material out of context from what the author really meant. Be specific and focused Narrow your focus down to a workable aspect of the film element you are dealing with. Mise-en-scene, for example involves lighting, composition, props, and so on. You might very well deal with only one of these topics. Think about what you will focus on and why. Narrow your focus down to a specific part of the film in question. In many cases this means a particular scene or, depending on the topic, even a single shot. How you figure out how to do the narrowing is a creative and very important aspect of this assignment. If you were dealing with a single shot and mise-en-scene, you could talk about lighting, composition, costumes, props, etc. But you might want to choose two different scenes and talk only about the significant differences in lighting between them. These choices depend a lot on the film element you are dealing with, the particular film, and your own interests. But I look hard at how effectively and explicitly you have focused and then used specific detail. As a general rule, make sure your analysis gets into very specific detail about at least one scene in the film. If you work at it, you will be amazed at how much you can write about even one shot. Generally the more tightly focused these analyses are the better, since the tight focus allows for more specific development. Connect your specific focus to your ideas about the film’s larger meaning or impact After you have described the specific technique at work in the film (or while you’re describing it) you should also be discussing how it works to generate meaning in the scene and how it fits into the larger context of the movie. This is the payoff, the reason for the technical description. You don’t have to come up with a single or a highly definite idea here; speculation is good too, but make sure you are thinking and talking about the meaning and the larger context for what you are analyzing. Your sense of this should be introduced in the beginning of the essay. Evaluation Considerations: I look for explicit indications that you have been reading Looking at Movies If you have, it should show up in these analyses. Citations or quotations are an excellent idea. Accuracy of terminology: If you have doubts about this, ask me. Not all of the terms and concepts are equally precise, but you don’t want to be way off base. Organization: These don’t have to be highly formal pieces of writing. You can write in a comfortable, informal voice: digress, speculate where it’s appropriate. But you should work at having a clear introduction that locates what you are doing and why, a body that does the description and analysis, and a conclusion. Descriptive clarity: Since visual media carry enormous amounts of information rapidly, describing visual detail in concise but concrete and understandable form can be challenging. The technical terminology can be important here (“the camera, in a medium shot, pans from left to right . . .”) as well as some creativity in making a reader see what you see. Always assume a reader who is familiar with the film. Editing: I don’t read with a red pen in hand, but if errors in proofreading and editing distract me, it will affect my evaluation. Getting started: Watching a film for style and technique takes practice. Initially it may seem forced, and you may have to work at not getting caught up in the story. Try watching a movie, focusing on just one element. Then pick a scene or a shot that strikes you as interesting or especially representative and that you want to figure out. You can’t do this assignments well from memory. Take lots of notes before you write and after you have a draft going. Be sure to look at the scene again and again, since new details and ideas may now appear that you want to include. Part of this essay is coming up with your own argument to support your claim, so try to find something that you find interesting. It is much easier to write about something you have an interest in, and I will likely find it more interesting when I am reading it. Go back into the textbook and look at your notes. Do a re-reading where necessary. What specific ideas draw your interest? Don’t let any of the above scare you. This analysis can be quite limited in its aims and be very successful. The key is substantial prep time, choosing the film, reading Looking at Movies, re-watching the scene, and taking notes. Evaluation: The Final Essay will be graded using the standard grading scale outlined on the syllabus. The grade you receive will be a holistic representation of the success of your Final Essay. A successful Final Essay will adhere to the Criteria and Recommendations stated above. Other Films for Analysis: 1917 2001: A Space Odyssey A Quite Place Adaptation Alien All About Eve American Beauty American Graffiti Apocalypse Now Being John Malkovich Bicycle Thieves Big Lebowski, The Big Short, The Birdman Black Hawk Down Black Swan Blood Simple Blowout Brazil Breathless Cameraman, The Chinatown City of God Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Dog Day Afternoon Don’t Look Now Double Indemnity Drive Dunkirk Eraserhead Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Fargo Favourite, The Fight Club Full Metal Jacket General, The Get Out Good Will Hunting Grand Budapest Hotel Halloween Her Hero In the Mood for Love John Wick Killing Them Softly King of Comedy Lady Bird The Lord of the Rings Lost in Translation Master, The Matrix, The Memento Metropolis Modern Times Moonrise Kingdom Moulin Rouge Mud Mulholland Drive Network O Brother Where Art Thou One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Parasite Peanut Butter Falcon, The Piano, The Princess Bride, The Prisoners Psycho Pulp Fiction Punch Drunk Love Rashomon Rear Window Requiem for a Dream Rocky Roma Rosemary’s Baby Run Lola Run Scream Seven Samurai Shape of Water, The Shining, The Snowpiercer Social Network, The Sorry to Bother You Spirited Away Strangers on a Train Taxi Driver Texas Chain Saw Massacre Thing, The (1982) Total Recall (1990) Traffic Trainspotting Truman Show, The Uncut Gems Usual Suspects, The Vertigo Vice Videodrome Walkabout

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