Topic: Research Paper
The final paper will be a research paper with several components. You will be asked to choose a feature film shown in the class. You will be asked to fully analyze the film in the manner of assignment 1, but in more detail, and to use that analysis to also show how the city the film is set in is presented, and what attitude the film takes toward the presence of the city. This should be the longest portion of your paper; you can also analyze how the style of the film expresses themes other than the presence of the city. Finally, you will be asked to comment on the ways in which a plausible way of seeing a city, perhaps one suggested by the required reading or by another text on cities that you might choose, differs from the way the city is shown in the film. This assignment will require you to read, and make reference to within your paper, at least three texts, two on the film and one on cities, though the last could be the required book. Texts on the films will be placed on the Canvas site. You may choose other texts, but they must be from a reputable source, such as a book or an edited Web site, and not from “Joe’s movie blog” or some cinema chat room. If you wish to write on one of the short films shown in class, contact the instructor for permission; You will likely be required to view additional related short films and include some in your paper. The core of your paper should be a discussion of how certain cinematic techniques create emotion, meaning, or both. It might be best to choose a single scene, or moment, or a single technique used in several different places. Do not summarize the plot. Do not explain why you did or did not like the movie. Instead, demonstrate an ability to try to understand how cinema works. Describe compositions, or cuts, or camera movements. You can discuss the use of sound but only if it’s an unusual and creative use. Do not tell us how the music enhances the mood. Do not discuss acting or the script, except briefly if either is related to the visual techniques you are analyzing. Each argument in your paper should take the form of discussing and describing a shot or technique, and then suggesting its possible effects. It should demonstrate your ability to discuss how the language of cinema creates expression and meaning in a film.
3. Man’s Castle (Borzage)