Final Paper Guidelines


Due April 26

Masterpieces of Cinema

The Analytical Criteria

Film analysis in this course will be organized around the following major analytical concepts.  Please use these as a guide to help you discuss and explore the important aspects of each film.  This list is specific to the course, and NOT found in the textbook, although each criterion is explained and explored with examples in the text.   Weekly online analysis will follow this structure as closely as possible, beginning with general comments and questions about the evening’s film.  These criteria are also the basis for the final paper in this course.  

Technical Aspects: - All aspects of technical standards or innovations used within the film.  This includes camera technology, digital technology, as well as camera moves and editing.

Mise-en-Scene: “The look of the film” - All aspects of mise-en-scene including setting, color, lighting, costumes, makeup and movement are included in this criteria.

Narrative: All aspects of the visual narrative (the “story”).  Includes organization, narrative expectations, character, and plot development (see Ch. 2 and 3 of the text).

Direction: How the director distinguishes himself/herself as an auteur.

History & Society: How the film either affects or reflects society when it was released or portrays society in its setting.   Does the film fit into film history, or portray a historical period?  Has the film become part of society through popular culture?

Genre/Movement: Does the film fit the aspects of a certain film genre or film movement?

Final Paper:  Students will select a film from the list that follows and write a paper of at least five pages analyzing five of the six filmic criteria above discussed in class.  This assignment will explore an appreciation for the skillful interplay of tools and techniques in a finished artwork, in this case, a film from the following list. 

Select from:

Life of Pi (Lee, 2012)        Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)

It Happened One Night (Capra, 1935)    The French Connection (Friedkin, 1971)

Rebel Without a Cause (Ray, 1955)Memento (Nolan, 2000)

Amadeus (Forman, 1984)        Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989)

Chicago (Marshall, 2002)The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)

Kill Bill Vol. 1 or 2 (Tarantino, 2003, 2004)Schindler’s List (Spielberg, 1994)

Magnolia (Anderson, 1999)        Talk to Her (Almodovar, 2002)

Edward Scissorhands (Burton, 1990)        Boyz N the Hood (Singleton, 1991)

A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan, 1951) Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976)

A Very Long Engagement (Juenet, 2004)City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)

The Player (Altman, 1992)        Babel (Innaritu, 2006)

The Departed (Scorsese, 2006)        No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers, 2007)

Slumdog Millionaire (Boyle, 2008)Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010)

Les Miserables (Hooper, 2012)        The Artist (Hazanavicius, 2011)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Anderson, 2013)

This final paper should fully explore the five criteria and is graded on the student’s original take on a film viewed outside the course.  This is not a research paper, and sources should only be used when researching auteur and socio-historical background for the films.  Successful analysis should integrate course material from both the class notes and readings in the text in a thoughtful paper.  The student is not required to divide the paper into the five criteria during the analysis (unless preferred for organizational clarity), however the paper must address these criteria to address the learning outcomes in the course.