Writing an essay on film

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Film Analysis Assignment

This project is aauteur focused comparative film analysis about two films from a singledirector from the list below. Because we are focusing on a specific director who we have discussed in class, this analysis should include - but is not limited to - elements of auteur theory and film authorship in its content. Your companion film will be whichever film we watched in class from this director.You are to develop and defend a thesis regarding the film/director's themes, using as many specific details as possible concerning the various elements of film - cinematography, mise-en-scene, movement, editing, sound, acting, etc. Naturally, you'll want to observe the rules of good writing - focusing on grammar, organization, and logic.

Topic: How do the specific cinematic techniques or elements of a film support the message or point it is making? As much as possible, point out techniques in such a way as to make some general point about the way(s) in which a film exposes its themes.

Tips for Writing an Essay on Film

Based on our previous writings in this course, I'm supplying these tips on writing. The following tips are in ascending order of importance, beginning with basic mechanical issues and ending with very broad points concerning content.

For any formal essay, you should follow the formatting guidelines of the profession style in the field - in this case MLA style. That means you should have
- a heading (your name, the course)
- a "header" (your last name & the page number)
- an original, relevant title
Use italics and citations for the title of any feature-length film.


In discussing any work of art, including a film, you should use the present tense, not the past. Focus on basic organizational concepts (paragraphing, essay structure), grammatical concepts (sentence structure, agreement, modifier placement, parallelism) and punctuation. Seek out the writing center for help if needed.

In all of your writing, you should strive to write concisely. As for specific wordiness problems associated with writing about film/literature, here are a few tips:

- 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) if you happen to know who that person is. 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 to 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..."


Don't just make broad generalizations about how great, how ineffective, or how confusing the techniques are in the films you're writing about. Instead, discuss in detail (while of course writing concisely) how the technique delivers its effect.

Finally and probably most importantly: You should have a central idea, a thesis, for the whole essay - an argument that is original, complex, relevant, specific, and debatable. Thus, instead of just sort of parroting my question and saying something obvious like, "These two Robert Altman films use a variety of cinematic techniques to create meaning," you should try to narrow the focus to something specific - perhaps some pattern that you noticed, or some aspect of film that you found yourself particularly interested in as it went along.


- Alfred Hitchcock (Notorious)
- AsgharFarhadi (A Separation)
- Spike Lee (Do The Right Thing)
- Spike Jonze (Her)
- Chris Marker (La Jeteé)
- Fritz Lang (Metropolis)
- Fernando Meirelles (City of God)

Reference no: EM131129514

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