Social Realism in Film: Depicting Social Problems on Screen

FINAL ESSAY Guidelines PDF Comparative Analytical Essay FPA 135 Due: Nov 22 (tues group) , Nov 23 (weds group) by 8:30 beginning of class Length: 1400-1600 words (25%) The objective of the Essay is to practice deploying the terms of Film Studies in an academic paper dealing with two films. After considering your interests, and even beginning some research, you will want to move beyond film description in order to provide a more detailed account of a principle, technique, genre, historical period etc. (see the Topics below). A brief summary of the film in the Introductory paragraph is welcome, but avoid excessive summary. You should be concerned with the film’s construction and its meaning, or its position in film history, or even its engagement with historical events or social issues (if you select that topic). STEP 1: Select a Topic 1. Principles of Film Form 2. Types of Movies (Comparing Genres, or Animation vs Live Action) 3. Classical Hollywood Cinema, 1930s-1950s 4. The New Waves (French, Czech, American, Chinese 5th Generation) 5. Elements of Narrative 6. Mise-en-Scene 7. Cinematography 8. Acting 9. Editing 10. Sound 11. Film History 12. Documentary: Direct Cinema and Cinema Verite 13. The Western 14. The Comedy 15. The Thriller 16. The Speculative Film (Science Fiction) 17. Avant-Garde Film (Experimental Art Film) 18. Social Realism in Film: Depicting Social Problems on Screen 19. Contemporary Cinema: Action and Digital Spectacle 20. National Cinema: Focusing on Film from a Nation or Territory Step 2: Select 2 Films 1). Choose 2 films from outside the course, OR 2) Compare a course film with a film not addressed in the course. You cannot compare 2 course films. Select your films for their relevance to your topic. For instance, it might be difficult to compare The Hunger Games with Mildred Pierce. But, Mildred Pierce and other film noirs like Brick, Blood Simple, Thief, or LA Confidential are comparable. If you aim to survey many films, please email for permission. You can mention many films, but 2 should receive the primary attention. Introduce how each film represents the topic End Paragraph 1 with a Thesis Statement (your claim or argument. “This paper suggests…”) Compare and Contrast how each film engages with the topic in distinct Paragraphs Discuss these Similarities and Differences near the End of the Essay Conclude by making broader Observations about the Films For example, Introduction Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) depicts a family spending the winter as caretakers in a remote, Colorado mountain resort where the father plans to write his new book. Increasingly, the resort hotel becomes a maze which seems to trap the family, as rooms appear and disappear in impossible places. Even carpets are reversed with no one moving them. The boy Danny develops a means of communicating with the hotel’s previous, deceased inhabitants, and possibly Native Americans killed where the hotel was built. I will suggest that this film violates many rules of mise-en-scene because it shows inconsistencies in décor, lighting etc etc….. For example, essay titles could be: “Documentary: Truth and Distortion in Michael Moore’s Sicko and Where to Invade Next” “Social Realism in Film: Goin Down the Road and Blue Valentine as ‘Class’ Films” “Film Sound: The Birds and Rear Window as Soundscapes of Tension” “Film History: Changing Filmmaking Strategies and Long Takes in The Revenant” Step 3: Write your Comparative Analytical Essay (1400-1600 wds of text) No Title Page Required Make Introductions brief – end them with your Thesis Statement Provide a brief Plot Description of each film Reference at least two authors assigned in the course. Reference at least two outside sources—academic or scholarly books/journals Additional sources are fine: Magazines and Popular Press reviews (cite them) Utilize a recognized documentation style (e.g. APA, MLA). Avoid footnotes, endnotes. Include a bibliography of your sources. Include a small screenshot or 2 of the films if necessary (not required), but add them at the end of the paper on one page as an Appendix. Quote your sources. As Hall says, “Direct Cinema is complex…..” (Hall, 2016, p. 12). Avoid long block quotes. You may want to adopt the Compare and Contrast format: Intro Film 1 Film 2 Film 1 Film 2 Film 1 and 2 Conclusion: Differences and Similarities *Integrate ALL quotes (quotes cannot stand alone in your essay): As Smith (2000) says, “filmmakers often struggle against studios…” and they “choose to be independent for that reason” (Smith 12). “Filmmakers often struggle against studios” (Smith 2000). paper. CHOOSE A TOPIC THAT INTERESTS YOU AND EXPLORE IT IN DEPTH. THIS ESSAY COULD END UP IN YOUR PORTFOLIO OR EVEN PUBLISHED AS A REVIEW OR ANALYSIS PAPER!

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