Conclusion and Critic’s Resource
Review the critical analysis questions in the “Conclusion and Critic’s Resource” section at teh bottom of the paper instructions. Write an eight to ten page film critique (excluding the cover and reference pages) of an American feature film of your choosing. Use the list of critical analysis questions provided in your textbook as a guide while writing your paper.
Areas that must be covered:
Style and Directing
Impact of society on the film and vice versa
Application of at least one approach to analysis and interpretation
Overall textual themes
Students must select a film that they have not previously explored in class, either in written assignments or discussion posts.
Students must establish a coherent thesis statement in the introduction of their paper with a claim that they intend to prove. The body of the essay serves to support the thesis through an analysis of the film and other relevant material. Avoid simply rehashing descriptive material from other source.
Support your thesis through textual and formal analysis. Refer to specific shots, scenes, characters, stylistic devices, and themes in the film.
As much as possible, use technical, literary and industry terms to make your points.
If needed, you may use additional resources to support your claims. Suggested sources might include academic books and articles; film reviews; and personal opinions from reputable film critics and scholars. Information other than production details obtained from popular sources such as The Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia is not considered reputable.
Only use plot information to support the thematic points of the paper. Include only one to two sentences of plot summary when explaining each of the required filmic elements.
Also, students should not choose a film that the authors of the textbook have analyzed in detail.
Writing the Final Film Critique
The Final Film Critique:
Must be eight to ten double-spaced pages (excluding the cover and reference pages) in length and formatted according to APA style as outlined in your approved style guide.
Must include a cover page with the following:
Name of paper
Course name and number
Must include an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
Must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a conclusion paragraph.
Must use APA style as outlined in your approved style guide to document all sources.
Must include, on the final page, a Reference List that is completed according to APA style as outlined in your approved style guide.
“Conclusion and Critic’s Resource”
•What is the narrative structure of the story?
• Is the plot in chronological order or a non–linear form?
• Where does the story take place?
•Is there a conflict? What is it? How is it resolved?
• Do the characters experience an internal or external conflict? What are they conflicted about? Who is the conflict with?
• Does the film contain symbolism? What kind of symbolism? What is the symbol? What concept or message could it stand for?
•Do you see metaphor or allegory in the film? Where?
• Is there irony in the film? What kind of irony? (dramatic, situational, verbal)
• Is there satire in the film?
•Does the film help you relate to the characters or storyline? How?
• Does the film address universal truths?
•Who are the actors in the film?
•What kind of actors are present? (impersonators, interpreters, personality actors, stars, wild cards, character actors)
•What type of acting is present? (stylized, realism, method acting, stage acting vs. film acting)
•How do the actors convey the story’s meaning by the way that they interpret their characters? How much of their performances might you attribute to the director?
•How do the ways the actors are placed and move around in the settings contribute to your understanding of their characters and of the story?
•What appears in the mise en scène and how much of it does the camera reveal at any given moment?
•What kind of lighting is used?
•What kind of color is used? (color vs. black and white, single color tints/tones, saturated color, desaturated color)
•What do the camera distance and angle look like?
•What kind of framing is used and how does it intensify the scene?
•What focal length is used?
•Is the camera objective or subjective?
•Are there special effects?
•How are the shots and scenes arranged into acts?
•What kind of transitions are used? (cut, fade, dissolve, wipe)
•How is coverage used?
•Is there continuity or discontinuity editing?
•Is there any editing to imply an action that you cannot see?
•What is the rhythm like? What length are shots?
•Is there slow– or fast–motion?
•What kind of sound is present in the film? (dialogue, sound effects, music)
•Whose dialogue do you hear in the film?
•When and where do sound effects appear?
•What kind of music is present? When does it appear?
•Is there a voice–over narrator? If so, is it one of the film’s characters or some omniscient storyteller? What effect does this have on your understanding of the film?
Style and Directing
•Does the director show technical competence, distinguishable personality, and interior meaning?
•Is the director’s point of view evident?
•How is the film similar to or different from past work from the same director?
•Does the director use any non–traditional storytelling techniques?
•What is the director trying to tell you through the film?
•Does the movie make you feel as if you are escaping your daily life? (escapism)
•Does the version of the movie you are watching have any censorship evident? (post–dubbing, cutting out scenes from the original)
•Does the movie address controversial societal or political issues?
•Can it be seen as an allegory for any societal or political issues? How? What evidence is present in the film and outside of the film for this assessment?
•Which of the genres discussed does the film fit most closely with? (western, gangster, mysteries, film noir, horror, romantic comedy, fantasy, musical)
•Does the film fall into the category of “genre film”? Why or why not?
•How can the typical elements of a relevant genre help you understand the film better?
•How does the film deviate from the genre it is most closely related to?
Film Criticism and Analysis
•What is the referential content in the film?
•What is the explicit content in the film?
•What is the implicit content in the film?
•What symptomatic content can you use to analyze the film?
•What approaches to analysis seem most appropriate to use when analyzing the film? (formalist, contextualist, structuralist, auteurist, realist, generic)
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