Using the film :1934 Frank Capra – It Happened One Night, 1941 John Huston The Maltese Falcon, and 1973 Federico Fellini Amarcord
Final (35% of final grade) *
(1000-1250 words; 8-10 pages, using MLA formatting, including a works-cited page, submitted as a Word or Google Doc created in this folder on 14 May. by 11.59 p.m.)
Write a thesis-driven essay about one or two of the films we have watched in the second half of the semester. This means the paper, though it may reference other films to support an argument, should primarily be about one or two of the films on the syllabus, assigned in the second half of the semester.
The essay should extensively engage specific parts of the film(s) to make a larger point about a concept, theme, technique, filmmaking movement, or production process relevant to the film(s). It is paramount that the discussion is extensively rooted in the one or two films you are analyzing. Do not let your discussion become too abstract or general. Going beyond just making these connections, your paper should make an arguable claim about what these connections mean. I should be able to disagree with you.
Draw on vocabulary and terminology you have gleaned from the secondary material (Bruce and Diane’s Vimeo introductions and additional comments in the Zoom discussions, other contributors to the Zoom discussions, and assigned readings), making sure to give credit in in-text citations and the works-cited page, following MLA style guide.
The essay should have an introduction, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction should mention the name of the film, the filmmaker, and give background information that frames an argumentative thesis. This is not the place to discuss general things about the film(s). The introductory material should be explicitly relevant to the thesis and argument you will be making. When I say explicitly relevant, I mean this: do not just give general information about the film and filmmaker. Be selective and focused. I’m not looking for a Wikipedia entry.
The argument you make should go beyond merely comprehending the film or information about the film. The supporting paragraphs should each make points relevant to the thesis, and each paragraph should have a different enough point to warrant being a separate paragraph. The supporting paragraphs should make use of evidence from the film and secondary material that is cited, according to MLA guidelines. The evidence should be introduced and its significance to the point should be analyzed and explained to the reader. The conclusion should give your reader a last impression of the point of your essay.
Feel free to look at these examples of previous student essays.
Writing About Film:
· The evidence should not be a summary of what happens in the film. Selective snippets of summary are sometimes necessary to move to a larger point, but I should not start thinking “how long will this summary go on?” while reading to get to your bigger point or where you explain how it supports a point.
· Don’t make broad generalizations about how great, how ineffective, how confusing the techniques are in the films that you’re using as examples. Instead, discuss in detail how the technique delivers its effect.
General Writing Tips:
· Be concise.
· Avoid references to yourself or your thoughts/opinions – just state them directly.
· Avoid references to your writing (“I’m going to discuss…”) or your essay (“This essay is about…”).
· Avoid references to your reader; avoid the 2nd‐person pronoun (you, your) altogether.
· Minimize references to the artists involved in the creation of specific techniques. It’s fine to name someone once (e.g., the director, the cinematographer, or the scriptwriter). But don’t constantly say things like, “In this scene the director uses lighting to show….”
· Avoid references to the intentions of the film or its makers, like “The movie is trying make the point that….” Again, just state those points directly, e.g., “The high‐contrast lighting supports the theme of the dark side of human nature.”
· Avoid references to the film’s audience, e.g., “The viewer notices that….”
· In all the above cases, just state your points directly – e.g., “The high‐contrast lighting in this scene symbolizes…” or “The expressionist style underscores the liberal message that…”
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