Pick one of the films we have watched during the quarter as the subject of your paper. The options are “La otra conquista” (The other Conquest), “Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes” (“Aguirre, The Wrath of God), “La ultima cena” (The Last Supper), “Camila”, “Reed: Mexico insurgente” , “Viva Zapata”, “Eva Peron”, “The Dancer Upstairs”, “La ley de Herodes” (Herod’s Law), “Aun la lluvia” (Even the Rain). All of the films are available for viewing in the Audio-Visual section of Geisel Library; some of them may even be available for viewing on the Internet, so if you can find it and watch it, good for you. The last film, “Aún la lluvia,” obviously cannot be used for the paper assignment unless you choose to view it ahead of time, or feel you can whip the long essay out
between Tuesday night and Thurs day evening, which would be ill-advised.
You should find at least three sources (you may use more, but not less)
—journal articles, books, chapters in multi-authored works, etc.—
relating to the historical period of the film, read the sources, and discuss how the film version of the historical incident, personage, period, etc., relates to the “actual” history as written about in your sources.
For example, if you want to write about “Reed: Mexico Insurgente,” you might want to find a biography of John Reed, a book about the Mexican Revolution, and a journal article or book chapter about the “Benton incident” to compare to the cinematic versions of these. If you want to write about “Camila,” do some reading about Argentina in the period of the dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas (and, for those of you who read Spanish, there are actually a number of historical works on the real Camila and her life). You
should not use any sources available on-line (this includes Wikipedia, etc.),except perhaps for things such as journal articles down-loaded from data bases like J-Stor. This is primarily a library assignment, so go to the library.
In your discussion comparing the film version and the “real” history, pay some attention to how the history of the period, place, persons, etc., is handled in the film—is there significant time compression, are the events dramatized greatly in comparison to the way they are portrayed in the written historical works, are they “distorted” for dramatic or political reasons, are characters added or subtracted from the film version, etc.? You may
wish to allude not only to the actual history, characters, settings, periods, etc., but to the cinematic elements in the movie version—that is, the way the story is narrated, the way it is filmed or edited (for example, what shots are used, and how they are edited together to create effects or emotional reactions), the way the actors are directed, the way color, music, lighting, camera angles, or other elements are employed, and so forth. Finally,
you should offer some opinion—and the reasons behind it—as to whether the film version is “accurate” or not, and if not, why not.