Film Analysis

FILM ASSESSMENT ASSIGNMENT AND GUIDE STARTS HERE4-5 Typed Pages, approximately 1500 words. Any Sources used must be DIRECT QUOTES, MLA Format, Choose a film and develop a well-structured essay. Include Thesis that makes overall judgment about the effectiveness / significance of the film. Include plot summary (one paragraph max), plot critique, analysis of three major themes/message/social commentaries, analysis of three aspects of film-making, specific evaluation of two actors’ performances, or other aspects of the film whichare especially relevant. Support your analyses with specific examples and evidence from the film. (See detailed guidelines in course materials set) Sources must be underlined in essay and Works Cited to ensure they are complete (See #27 and #28 in Checklist). (See paragraph model in course materials set) [note that asmts 11/16 above provide much data/analysis for this essay.PARAGRAPH GUIDE FOR FILM ASSESSEMENTFollowing is a short outline of a possible structure for your film essay. Your essay may vary from this structure, with fewer or more paragraphs per section—except that plot summary should be limited to one paragraph. Detailed considerations of each section follow. NOTE THAT FILM TITLES ARE IN ITALICS: Example: TitanicOUTLINE GUIDE – EACH ASTERISK SHOULD BE A SEPARATE PARAGRAPH:* Introduction/ Thesis – Overall Impression/ Judgment of the Film. This judgment should summarize, as well as possible, the major points made in your essay (See Section A Below)* Optional Paragraph: Background information about significant production decisions, such as continuation of a particular franchise, new artistic territory for director, notable new type of film genre, etc.* Plot Summary – ONE paragraph. (See Section B Below)* Plot Critique – See Considerations Below (See Section C Below)* Analysis of a Major theme/Message/social commentariy in the film with examples and possible supporting research (See Section D Below)*Analysis of a Major theme/Message/social commentariy in the film with examples and possible supporting research (See Section D Below)* Analysis of a Major theme/Message/social commentariy in the film with examples and possible supporting research (See Section D Below)* Analysis/Judgment of a Specific Film-Making Element with examples and possible supporting research(See Section E below)* Analysis/Judgment of a Specific Film-Making Element with examples and possible supporting research(See Section E below)* Analysis/Judgment of a Specific Film-Making Element with examples and possible supporting research(See Section E below)* Analysis/Judgment of Acting with examples and possible supporting research(See Section F below)* Analysis/Judgment of Acting with examples and possible supporting research(See Section F below)* Conclusion – Restate your overall judgment, and ideally offer an additional perspective on your analyses(See Section G Below)DETAILED CONSIDERATIONSA: Introduction/ Thesis – Overall Impression of the FilmYour introductory paragraph should include a thesis which indicates your overall impression of the film. That overall impression may involve an analysis of what the film attempted as an artistic goal (perhaps in relation to other films) and an assessment of how fully that goal was met. In some cases, you might address whether or not the goal was indeed achievable or worthwhile.B:  Plot SummaryProvide the reader a plot summary of no more than 1-2 paragraphs. This section of the essay may also include reference to the genre and the time/place the film is set. Remember that the goal of the essay is to analyze, assess, and judge the film, not simply re-tell the plot. This section of the essay may also include information on the director, producer and key actors, as well as any particularly relevant background information concerning the production or the genre.(Note that the bulk of your review absolutely should not be simply a rehash of the plot.)C. Plot AnalysisAnalyze the structure and success of the storyline in the film and whether or not it was effective. You might address the relationships among scenes, characters, timelines, and the overall impact of the director’s choices in these regards. Consider how the film cohered as an artistic statement. If there were any unexpected/ notable plot structures, shifts, jumps in focus, did they fit in with the overall artistic intent of the film, as you understand it? If there were any elements/relationships that were unresolved, how do these contribute to the artistic impact, or to your enjoyment of the story line? Does the film leave any plot elements unresolved at the end? If so, what does this suggest?You might consider what “worked” in the plot—was wasinteresting/thrilling/noteworthy; and what “did not work”—what was boring, unclear, repetitious, unoriginal, or forced.D Themes/Social MessageA “theme” is a generalized significance. Any film will have many themes. For example, in Titanic, there are themes of love, survival, greed, selfishness, class-differences, social protocol, lust, devotion—as well as the obvious theme of a shipwreck. Consider some of the major themes that your chosen film involves, and how the film posits (represents/develops/manifests) these themes. What messages or insights does it provide concerning the themes, or what important questions does it pose concerning the themes? You might assess whether these themes are clearly presented, and if there is some ambiguity in that presentation, whether the ambiguity itself adds a new dimension or obfuscates a particular message. If characters in the film change as the actions in the film unfold, how do such changes relate to the presentation of theme? You might consider what you learned as a matter of human insight concerning the themes which the film attempted to portray. You might consider whether the film’s portrayal of these themes was worthwhile—and whether all viewers would benefit from the film, or only a certain subset.E. FILM-MAKING ELEMENTS: Structure/Form/TechniquesA film is a joint artistic enterprise among a very large number of individuals who consider many aspects of the production. The production is orchestrated on many levels, and choices in the film are not simply random. Consider the overall Structure / Form / Techniques involved in your chosen film. You might evaluate any of the following issues, although almost certainly not all of them will pertain to each film (Be sure to develop paragraphs, with appropriate topic sentences and supporting sentences for any aspects you choose to address):Were any particular film techniques used in key scenes?How did the film techniques and music enhance the setting and themes of the film?Are there any recurring visual images or symbols? What is their significance?Is there any important dialog which is repeated? What purpose does it serve?How and when are scenes cut? Are there any patterns in the way these “cuts”/production choices function?Are special effects, visual techniques, or sound used in any vivid ways to enhance the film? How? How do they contributeto the overall production? (i.e. Enhance drama, heighten tension, disorient the viewer, etc.)How is music used in the film?What are the important filmic or editing techniques?How does the film use color or light/dark to suggest tone and mood in different scenes?Are there any striking uses of perspective (seeing through a character’s eyes, camera angle, etc.) ?What specific scene constitutes the film’s climax? How does this scene resolve the central issue of the film?Why does the film conclude the way it does? What is the final closing image and what is its importance?What does the title mean in relation to the film as a whole?What three or four sequences are most important/most memorable in the film? WhyF. ActingMost films have specific chosen actors to play particular roles. As such, their job is to perform, i.e., to portray their designated characters in a compelling and effective manner. Thus, as a reviewer, you can judge the actors’ performances, considering questions such as the following (Again, be sure to develop paragraphs, with appropriate topic sentences and supporting sentences, for any aspects you choose to address)::How did the actors portray key character roles?Are there examples of effective / ineffective acting—taking into account the fact that the actors are responding to a pre-written script;i.e. they are, in general, not inventing their lines or inventing the plot.Did the casting seem appropriate?How are the actors chosen? Are their roles similar—or in counterpoint—to other roles they have played in the past? What is the significance of this?Do any of the roles mirror/counter aspects of the actor’s “real life”?Again, what is the significance, or effectiveness, of this?Be sure to provide appropriate details and examples in your essay to support your assessment. For example, it is not enough to state that the “acting was fantastic, but the scenery was inappropriate and unexciting.” You must explain what was “fantastic” about the acting using specific examples to back up your explanation, and you must explain exactly why the scenery was “inappropriate and unexciting.”G. ConclusionThe conclusion of your film assessment essay should sum up your overall opinions and judgments about your chosen film. You can summarize prior points, but hopefully the conclusion will also expand your insights in a suitable closure. Some key points which might comprise aspects of the conclusion could include the following:Did you learn anything from the film?Did it realistically portray the situation it intended to portray?What was the message or ”argument” of the film?Do you agree or disagree with this perspective?Were the messages of the film rendered in a subtle enough (or bold enough manner)?What could others learn from watching the film?How does the film offer a new treatment of its chosen subject matter?Does the film involve any new artistic or technical territory?Does the film make a social or political statement? If so, what is its significance?ELEMENTS OF LITERARY FICTION ALSO RELEVANT TO FILM ANALYSESAs film is an artistic endeavor, typically involving a storyline, some of the aspects of literary consideration can also be applied to your consideration of filmic elements, such as the following:PLOT: WHAT HAPPENS?SYMBOL: An element of the story (action, detail, image) which also stands for something beyond itself (Example: In Titanic, 1) the ring represent a formerrelationship; superficiality of wealth; something not owned personally; an offering in honor of Rose’s relationship with Jack)(Example 2) the boat symbolizes man’s mastery of technologySETTING: Where the story takes placeCHARACTERS (NOT ALWAYS HUMAN…)POINT OF VIEW: The perspective from which a story is toldHUMOR: Investigate its nature/ implicationsIMAGERY: Descriptions, figures of speech (metaphors/similesTHEME: Generalized significance or meaning which emerges from the story or from a plot elementHISTORICAL BACKGROUND: Psychological/sociological. Reality? Accuracy?Additional ConsiderationsBoth male and female performers are referred to as actors there are no gender specifications.Be careful to distinguish between the actors (the performers) and the character (the roles they play).Be careful to distinguish between the film’s plot (the story line as written by the author) and the production (the way it was made)*…/…/Guidelines_for_Film_Reviews.pdf

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