Your assignment is to write a 1,500 word essay analyzing how cinematic techniques work together to create meaning in a film.
Select a film to analyze.
BlacKKKlansman (dir. Spike Lee, US 2018)
Cleo from 5 to 7 (dir. Agnès Varda, France 1962)
In the Mood for Love (dir. Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong 2000)
Let the Right One In (dir. Tomas Alfredson, Sweden 2008)
Mosquita y Mari (dir. Aurora Guerrero, US 2012)
Tomboy (dir. Céline Sciamma, France 2011)
Watch your film and take notes. Pay attention to the broad themes explored in the film, its overall structure, and significant techniques used.
Ask yourself questions. Review the discussion questions that have typically been asked in lectures, as well as those included on the prompt for the sequence analysis essay. Ask yourself these same questions about the film you have selected. For instance: Does a particular color or lighting scheme dominate? If so, why? Is the narrative chronological or a chronological? What effect does this arrangement have? Does the film engage with genre conventions? How and for what purpose? With whom do we identify? What effect does this have?
Begin to formulate an argument. The key to your essay will be developing an original, specific thesis statement about how 1 or 2 particular techniques underscore one key theme in the film. Answering one or two of the questions you pose yourself will help you formulate a thesis. Review the sections on “Writing an Analytical Film Essay” and “Elements of a Film Essay” in Corrigan and White, chapter 12.
Ineffective thesis statement: In this essay I will analyze the use of sound in Blackmail.
Effective thesis statement: In Blackmail off-screen sound illustrates Alice’s powerlessness, while also encouraging viewers to identify with this position of victimization.
Select examples to include in your essay. Your paper must include close cinematic analysis of the type you did in your sequence analysis essay. Plan on analyzing one or two brief sequences in detail from your chosen film. Avoid description and plot summary; focus on cinematic analysis instead.
No outside research is required! We are interested in your own ideas and analysis.
Type and double-space your paper.
Number the pages.
Underline or italicize film titles. (CAPS or “quotation marks” are incorrect.)
Craft an engaging title for your essay that signals your argument; try to avoid “An Analysis of Film Title” For more information on Cinematic Techniques see this: https://www.britannica.com/topic/cinematography
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