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ENG 2300: Film Analysis
Spring 2007 Assignments

Major Assignments

All assignments must be completed and submitted at the beginning of the class period on the due date assigned and in the assigned format. Each assignment will have specific features; however, essay assignments must be typed in Times New Roman and double-spaced on white 8 1/2" x 11" paper with one-inch margins on all sides. Essays that do not fit the required format will automatically be considered late and be deducted one letter grade. You will turn in BOTH a hard copy and an electronic copy. The hard copy will be taken up at the beginning of class and the electronic copy should be emailed to me before the class period the assignment is due.

These assignments are due in class and in my inbox, at the beginning of class, on the dates indicated. Your assignment grade will be dropped by one full letter grade for every day it is late. Also, there will be additional assignments and materials not indicated on this sheet (all changes will be posted on our class schedule on my webpage), and both this schedule and individual assignments are subject to change.
Some assignments are individual, while others are group based. If the group assignment is late, everyone in the group is penalized. However, it is not an absolute that everyone in the group receives the same grade. I will conduct both self and group peer evaluations as a means of monitoring the work load balance within the groups.

If you are going to be absent on the day that an assignment is due, email the assignment to me BEFORE our class period and it will not be considered late.

Assignment Format
• Standard 81/2”x11” white paper with 1” margins on all sides
• Double spaced
• Typed in black ink, Times New Roman, size 12 font
• MLA style with your name, the course title and section number, my name, date in the top left hand corner. Put the location of screening, date of screening and the movie title at the bottom of the your last page. The title of the report (something more interesting than “A Report on Chicken Little”) should be in the center of the page. The heading and title should NOT be repeated on subsequent pages.
• Page numbers with your last name in the upper right-hand corner of all subsequent pages
• Stapled in upper left-hand corner
You will also turn in an electronic copy via email attachment in either .doc or .rtf. These should be emailed to me at before the class period that the assignment is due.


You'll need your Gatorlink ID and password in order to access your grades through the WebCT/Vista online gradebook. Please keep a running total of your grades for yourself in case I miscalculate or there is a technical difficulty with the gradebook.

Your final grade will be calculated in the following manner:
Professionalism, Participation, Attendance 10%
Student Examples 10%
Two Outside Viewing Reports 10%
Viewing Journal 10%
Comparative Scene Analysis Essay 10%
Formal Scene Analysis 10%
Auteur paper and presentation 20%
Final Project 20 %

Grading Scale:
A: 90-100
B+: 87-89
B: 80-86
C+: 77-79
C: 70-76
D: 60-69
E: 0-59

The University of Florida does not use minus grades, so you can't receive a B- as your final grade for this course. However, other class work may receive minuses to allow for a more precise evaluation of the quality of your work. Rounding up for final grades is not an absolute.

Professionalism, Participation, Attendance 10%
You are expected to regularly attend class and vigorously take part in class discussions. You should be prepared with questions and comments for every lesson, engage the materials that we cover, and actively employ critical thinking skills. Thus, while our "feelings" and personal responses to a film, text or rhetorical suggestion are a useful place to begin a discussion, you will be expected to go beyond these sorts of "gut reactions" and like/dislike responses. In other words, you will not only be expected to converse about the primary and secondary texts, but to test (via class participation) your critical thinking and interpretive skills. You must also take part in peer review workshops, in-class assignments, and various other group activities. Failure to regularly participate in class discussions, as well as missing any workshop or group project day, will negatively affect your participation grade.

NOTE: Screenings are REQUIRED! I will be taking attendance and you are expected to attend and take notes throughout the screenings.

Student Film Examples 10%
In conjunction with your general class participation, you will be asked to find specific filmic examples of film terms, shots, or techniques. Students will sign up on the class wiki and describe their example on the wiki page. Students will bring in a film clip depicting their example and be prepared to share it in class. Specific details will be provided on the class wiki.

Two Outside Viewing Reports 10%
To expand your film viewing experience, you will be expected to view at least 2 theatrical-release films (or, in the case of the CMC and some film festivals, a movie that isn’t readily available to the public) outside of class and in a variety of venues. You must watch at least 1 film at the Hippodrome, a film festival, the Harn, or other "alternative" viewing space (such as the CMC) and 1 film at standard cineplexes or the Reitz Cinema. For each film you should submit a report briefly describing the film and your response to it and making connections to class readings and screenings.

Plot summary should be limited to no more than a short paragraph. Instead of copious amounts of summary, you should attempt to analyze one or two key aspects of the film in terms of what you have learned in this class and how they work to define your overall response to the movie. Because these reports are intended to measure your experiences, I will expect your responses to become more sophisticated as the class progresses and your knowledge of film form and criticism increases.

Possible topics to discuss include:
1. Issues of audience and viewing space, narrative discourse, development, narration, and mise-en-scene
2. Cinematography, editing, a bit of film history, notions of counter-cinema and auteurism
3. A more comprehensive notion of film history, genre, ideological critique, and theoretical frameworks

Of course, you are by no means expected to cover all of these topics in a short 2-page review; just try to incorporate one or two formal and/or critical concepts in each paper. You are very much encouraged to express your personal response to the film; nonetheless, your opinion should be thoroughly supported by what you have learned in this class.

Assignment Description and Specifications
• At least 2 FULL pages (which means at least one word on the 3rd page along with the location of the screening, date of screening, and the movie title at the bottom of the final page. There is a 4 page maximum limit.
• A ticket stub, program, or some other indication that you did indeed see the movie stapled to the front.

Grading Criteria
• Clearly articulates the viewer’s response to the film
• Demonstrates a knowledge of course material and how the film can be illuminated by the concepts, theoretical gestures, and formal issues covered
• Displays familiarity with whole film through an analysis of a few key aspects
• Utilizes concrete examples from the film in order to support the chosen aspects
• Limits plot summary
• Exhibits an engaging and professional voice
• Correct grammar and word usage

Viewing Journal 10%
In a separate notebook designated only for this class, you will keep a journal over the course of the semester, to be turned in twice (around the semester mid-point and near the end of the semester), in which you respond to the class films. All of the films we view in our screening period must be discussed. Your entry should NOT consist merely of plot summary. While you should take notes on general plot and action of the movie, you should begin developing interpretive claims about films and noting more detail like particular shots and camera angles. Relevant comments from class discussion or our class readings may also be incorporated, and illustrations are also welcome (such as sketches that might help you to think about a visual idea under discussion), if you find these helpful. Entries should begin with the date written and the film title covered. Each required entry should be at least 250 words. Bring this journal to screenings and take notes either while viewing the films or directly after watching them and then bring the journal to class Fridays. Consider this a workbook of cinema (This is, in fact, the literal translation of the title of the New Wave journal, Cahiers du Cinema), a space within which you can think about ideas, argue with the readings, synthesize critical texts and films, and begin processing the material you will work through more formally in your papers.

I may call on you to read selections from them to the class from time to time to facilitate film discussion on Fridays. Consequently, you should avoid writing "filler" or "b-s" just to meet the minimum writing requirements, AND you should bring your journal to class every Friday.

Comparative Scene Analysis Essay 10%
Select a film of your choice (which you will post to the wiki and have approved) that has been remade, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that we viewed in class. Choose a similar scene or sequence from the films that you can compare. Analysis the two different scenes in terms of how the different director approaches the scene. How do the two scenes utilize mise-en-scene, cinematography, and editing? Why is this scene important to the film as a whole? The essay should be 3-4 pages.

One way to format the essay would be the following:
I.Intro to original movie and remake
II.Discussion of original movie scene
III.Discussion of remake movie similar scene
IV.Analysis of the differences and similarities between the two (this could be more than one paragraph

That is only one way to approach the organization of the assignment. Pay close attention to detail in the scenes and be sure that you are clear which movie you are addressing. There could be some confusion of the titles are identical.

Examples of possible movies: Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Producers, Ocean’s Eleven, Italian Job, Stepford Wives, Black Christmas, Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Sabrina

Formal Scene Analysis Essay 10%

Choose a scene or sequence from a film of your choice (which you will post to the wiki and have approved) and do an analysis and interpretation of it. How does the scene utilize mise-en-scene, cinematography, and editing? Why is this scene important to the film as a whole? In this paper you are moving from the details of the scene to the film as a whole, taking one part of the film as representative of its entire aesthetic or thematic meaning or perhaps in opposition to what you see as the film’s meaning. If a film is indeed, as we have posited, a powerful form of argument, how do the formal considerations enhance or perhaps undercut the argument you think the film is making? You will need to use detailed support for your argument and fully explain why the specific elements in the scene are significant. You will use at least one of the class reading selections to support your analysis. The essay should be 3-4 pages.

Auteur presentation 20% (10% for the presentation and 10% for the written component)
Who is the director? What do they bring to the film? This presentation asks you to consider the concept of auteurism that we've been discussing in the course. For this assignment you will closely examine the work of a director of your choice, which you will sign up for on the class wiki. Sign up early because two students can not have the same director. You will present your director to the class with clips from the director’s movie. These presentations should be approximately 20 minutes in length and give the class an overview of your director, this should include some bibliographic information. Additionally during the presentation, you will be making the argument to the class why or why not this director is an auteur using clips from his/her movies as examples.

Presentations should be engaging, and thoroughly covers the points in your group argument. You should have a good use of clip, both using them economically and knowing where the exact scenes you want to show are on the DVD.

In addition to your presentation, you will post a discussion of at least three films from the director, address specific scenes within those films, and a works cited page on the class wiki, which should be at least 750 words (three double spaced pages in Word). You may include a timeline of the director, but even though this will be posted to the wiki, you should think of it as a normal essay and use standard conventions of English.

Pay close attention to mise-en-scene, cinematography, music, etc., to support your argument about your auteur. Does your director constitute an auteur? Why or why not? Again, pay close attention to various technical elements to support your position. Be sure to give examples from the films to support your argument.

Our class reading Citizen Bickle,or the Allusive Taxi Driver: Uses of Intertextuality by John Thurman in Senses of Cinema makes a persuasive case for auteurism summed up in the final two sentences of the article: "Scorsese, for his part, by his conscious use of intertextuality, underscores the validity of the concept of authorship, and the importance of authorial intentions. Contrary to one Frenchman's notion, the “auteur” is not dead." You can use this article as an example for singular case of auteurism through intertextuality.

If you are unclear as to the basics of a general presentation, view this presentation rubric.

Final project – individual or group 20%

For the final project, you have several choices. You can work individually, or you may work as a group. You also have several different topics that you can choose from. You can opt for a creative project of your choosing involving film, which could include making your own film. If you select this then I will work more closely on the details with each individual group or person. Or, you can do a historical movement or genre project. The details for each are listed below. No matter which project you choose, you will turn in a project proposal outlining your idea for your final project.

Each project will have a presentation portion, but the details of the presentation will depend on the project.

Creative Assignment – Production based

You may consult with me concerning "creative" options; however, these alternatives must consist of an equivalent amount of work to a 10-15 page research paper. I highly encourage students to consider this option. This could include such creative works as making your own short traditional film, creating a film using the video game The Movies, creating a webpage, or whatever creative aspect you come up with. You will need to discuss this choice with me.

Sample Creative Web Project By Bobby Eagle

Historical Movements and Genres Project – Research based
This is meant to be a group assignment and is written as such, but can be modified for an individual assignment if you choose to work alone.

Assignment Description and Specifications

• A group topic proposal in which the group briefly outlines its proposed thesis, the films it will be examining, and the individual assignments.
• Each group member will write 3-5 pages concerning her/his specific section of the group paper, which should total 10-15 pages. This does not include the cover page, works cited pages, or plot segmentations.
• Each individual section must include at least two different sources that are correctly cited and that directly support your thesis. These sources must come from some reputable outside source (ex. Scholarly film journal—i.e. NOT Entertainment Weekly—book of scholarly criticism on your film, director, movement, historical period, or theorist you are working with).
• Each project must include a separate works cited page with correct MLA citation.
• A wiki post that gives a clear timeline of the major moments in the historical movement or genre, the political, theoretical, and ideological influences, and the group argument concerning the two films and how they are related to their contemporary movement or genre and each other.
• A group presentation in which EVERY MEMBER participates equally. This presentation should include clips and take roughly 30 minutes. Feel free to be creative.
• Finally, each group project must include a self and peer evaluation.

Group Work and the Paper

For this assignment, you will have a chance to experience a collaborative learning and research process that evokes the collective work that is cinema. Focusing on one particular historical movement or genre, as part of a group you will conduct research into its history, theoretical foundations, stylistic techniques, and narrative, formal, and generic characteristics. In particular, your group paper will briefly address a historical movement or genre and compare and/or contrast two films, emphasizing how they relate to that movement or genre. The paper should be roughly divided into:
1. Establish the historical movement or genre and its main tendencies, with an introduction of the two films to be analyzed and the group's thesis concerning the relationship between the films and the particular movement or genre. This part of the paper should introduce the group's argument and situate it historically. (2-3 pages).
2. and 3. Analyze how the two films relate to the historical movement or genre introduced in section 1. These two sections, one for each film, should focus on how the films adhere to or depart from an historical mode and what those adherences or departures might suggest for the significance of your films or the movement as a whole, OR the convergent or divergent aspects of the genre that are represented through the two films and what these similarities and differences signify. These sections should consider the possible material and ideological influences of the historical period and context that inform the films as well as various theoretical arguments about the nature and purposes of film. Of course, these sections should clearly relate back to the thesis introduced in section 1 and have a topic sentence that acts as a mini-thesis for the section. These two sections can be organized according to the contrasting films, particular stylistic elements, theoretical trajectories, etc. (3-5 pages each).
4. A conclusion that ties all of these concepts together (1-2 pages)
Your group will find that examining a few key sequences in relation to their overall structure and meaning rather than attempting to explain everything about the films will best serve your argument. Do not attempt to cover every possible meaning and element of the films. Instead, strive to focus on what you feel are several of the most significant elements and fully develop them in relation to the larger movement or genre. In doing so, your group should construct a strong argument for what you feel are the functions, effects, and meanings of these significant filmic elements within your films and within the movement or genre as a whole. What is the nature of the difference within the films? Is it merely stylistic? Does it indicate an historical shift? Ideological shift? Etc.

Grading Criteria for the Research Papers
• A clear and powerful thesis statement (or “topic sentences”)
• Adequate evidence that clearly supports your thesis and includes concrete details/OR, if you are doing the introduction and conclusion, clearly establishes the historical framework in a critical context and supports this with concrete details
• Direct quotation from at least 2 sources that support your thesis and are well incorporated into your argument
• Avoids lengthy and unnecessary plot summary
• A professional and engaging voice and tone
• Correct grammar, mechanics, and word usage
• Adequate organization, depth, creativity, and clarity of argument
• Evidence of extensive revisions and improvement from rough draft

Possible Historical Movements and Genres

*Film Noir
*Postwar Era Avant Garde
*French Impressionism
*Solviet Expressionism
*Italian Neorealism
*Silent Comedies
*Socialist Realism
*Hong Kong Action
*Screwball Comedy
*Iranian New Wave
**Note: GreenCine has an excellent series of “Movie Primers” that might help you in your research and selection choices: