Critical Film Studies – FINAL PAPER
Instructor: Stephen Tapert
GENERAL INFORMATION: For your final paper, you will write a research paper on one of the titles from the two pink-colored sheets that you have randomly selected in class.
• Your selected title may NOT be the same title used for your presentation or for your extra credit.
• To prepare, you will need to watch your film in its entirety. Repeated viewing will only strengthen your analysis. You are encouraged to select a film that you have never seen before.
SPECIFIC INFORMATION: Your review will be SIX paragraphs in length and at least SEVEN pages (but no more). As a writing guide, you will use the “Six Paragraph Essay Structure” (as seen on the back of this sheet).
• Your essay must be typewritten in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and in the MLA format.
• At least 8 to ten sentences per body paragraph.
• Correct grammar and spelling.
• No contractions (wasn’t, didn’t, weren’t); Write them out (was not, did not, were not) • No casual language or slang (stuff, kid, guy, cool, amazing, incredible)
• No fragments or run-ons
• Avoid words like thing, interesting, lots of
• Use the past tense when referring to something in the past
• Spell out single-digit numbers (zero to nine); use numerals for numbers greater than nine (10 and above); exception: if a sentence starts with a number, always spell that number out. Always use numerals for dates (even if the numbers are one to nine).
• The use of pictures, illustrations, graphics, and so forth are forbidden.
• WORKS CITED: In your review, you must include at least THREE books and THREE magazines/ newspaper articles/ scholarly journals. All quotations MUST be cited. Here, you may want to discuss differing or opposing viewpoints of the film from different authors. Banned citations: Wikipedia; imdb.com; rottentomatoes.com; mentalfloss.com; etc.
• YOUR PAPER IS DUE on the day of our scheduled meeting during WEEK 12.
In your review, you may want to consider the following questions:
• Who are the major figures involved in the making of this film?
• What are the major ideas conveyed in the film? What impact did this film have? • What are its strengths and weaknesses?
• How does the film compare to other films (or film movements) that we have discussed in class? • When focusing on a sequence or scene, describe the key elements within the shot, as well as the framing, the camera movement, the effect of lens, the use of sound, the editing between shots, and the type of cut. What seems to dominate the scene (i.e. what holds it together)? • When focusing on the acting, you may want to describe the finer points of the craft, including movement, gesture, posture, elocution, staging, lighting, and wardrobe.
Make sure your film review is logical.
• Outlining before or after you write a first draft can help you to test its logic. For example, you may want to write a one-sentence summary of the main point of each paragraph. Do the points follow logically? Would additional discussion of one or two points strengthen your argument? Do you digress (or go off point)? Should your paragraphs be re-ordered?
• ALSO, when making an argument (or an important point about something), be sure to support your argument with detailed evidence.
Six Paragraph Essay Structure:
1. Strong lead-in
2. General information
3. [Transition word] More background information
4. [Transition word] More background information
5. Thesis statement (the main idea of the whole essay) (e.g. “In this paper I will examine how …”)
Body Paragraphs #1 – #4 (Body paragraphs contain the substance of the essay) 1. Topic Sentence (the main idea of the of the body paragraph)
2. Factual information or quotation #1 (supporting sentences contain specific details, examples, and evidence that supports the main idea in the topic sentence)
4. [Transition word] More opinion/analysis
5. [Transition word] Factual information or quotation #2
7. [Transition word] More opinion/analysis
8. Transition/Conclusion sentence
Conclusion Paragraph (This paragraph provides closure to your essay) 1. Restate the Thesis statement IN DIFFERENT WORDS
2. Summarize ideas/main points (Explain how the information in your essay supports the thesis statement and why it is important; why is this all important? How does it all fit together?)
3. Reflect on ideas
MLA citation formatting:
Surname, Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publishing Company, Year Published. Medium
Magazines/newspaper articles/scholarly journals:
Surname, Name. “Article Title” Journal’s Title. Volume Number. Issue Number (Year): Pages Cited. Medium
NOTE: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will result in an automatic zero. What qualifies as academic dishonesty?
• Using another person’s words or ideas (directly quoted or paraphrased) and presenting them as your own, i.e. plagiarism. If you do not have citations, it is assumed that the words in your paper are your own. Thus, if you do not cite your sources, your paper will count as plagiarism.
• Unauthorized assistance: the use of unauthorized, outside resources (including, but not limited to, a private tutor, a hired writer/editor, and translation applications/devices) for assignment assistance.
• Multiple submissions of even your own work from an assignment (in any current or previous course).
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