Length: Approximately 4-5 pages, double-spaced Format: Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1- or 1¼-inch marginsBibliography: In this essay, you are only responsible for citing the textbook, but you may also cite the recommended readings posted on D2L. Use the Chicago Manual of Style (other formatsare acceptable as long as students remain consistent.)
Film Art An Introduction, 11th Edition by David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, Jeff Smith
In this final essay, students will get the chance to further develop their understanding of the key formal elements discussed in the lectures and tutorials: mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing,and sound. Choose one of the following topics:
1.Compare and contrast the use of two formal elements in one of the films screened inclass. How do these elements work in tandem to guide the spectator’s attention, to create a mood or emotional affect, and to clarify or obscure our interpretation of narrative events and the film’s themes?
2.Compare and contrast one formal element in two films screened in class. What is theoverall function of the formal element you have chosen in the two films under discussion? Can the differences between the two films help us understand the range of a certain kind of filmmaking (classical Hollywood cinema, for example) or the differences between types of filmmaking (experimental cinema versus documentary,for example)?
Once you have chosen your topic, it is a good idea to make an outline that will guide your introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In your introductory paragraph, you want to establish exactly what you are going to argue in the essay. Avoid shapeless generalizations, such as “Mise-en-scène is an important component of cinematic style”, and, instead, focus in on the task at hand. For example, you might begin with something like, “This essay will analyze the interaction between mise-en-scène and editing in Kátia Lund’s City of God (2002).” From here, you might describe how the film adapts its camera work, colour scheme, and editing strategies to represent the different phases in the life of the favela. In the remainder of the introductory paragraph, you should map out which scenes and formal concernsyou intend to focus on to best illustrate your case.In the body paragraphs of your essay, you have the freedom to analyze your chosen film or films in the way you think will best illustrate your case. For example, if you were to analyze editing in Vertigo (1958) and Blue Velvet (1986), you could explore the use of continuity editing in both films. You could then analyze the unique ways in which Hitchcock and Lynch deploy the techniques of the continuity system, such as the eye-line match, as they also reveal Hollywood cinema’s tendencies toward perversion and voyeurism. As you write these
paragraphs, think of yourself as a lawyer, making sure that your descriptions help to demonstrate your initial thesis. In the concluding paragraph, you want to reiterate your thesis, and also make a broader conclusion about the film practices you’ve chosen to discuss. In the case of Gimme Shelter (1970), for example, you might emphasize how, despite its claims to “fly on the wall observation”, documentary filmmaking always influences the events before the camera and places these events within a rhetorical perspective. A few formal notes: Film titles should be underlined or placed in italics with the year of production in brackets the first time you mention the film: Rear Window (1954)When using a director’s name, use their full name the first time, and only their last name every time after thatEssay titles should be placed in quotations: Linda Williams, “Mirrors without Memories”Book titles should be underlined or placed in italics: Film Art: An Introduction, Eleventh EditionPlease cite all of your references using an accepted academic format, such as MLA or Chicago Style. See: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.ht
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