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Approved Film List

For your term essay, you are required to select a film from the list below. These films are NOT part of the class viewing schedule. Films shown in class are NOT eligible as choices for your essay. ONLY the titles below are approved for your essays:

American BeautyEighth GradeHer
Barry LyndonEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindMoonlight
The BirdsGhandiSilence of the Lambs
Brokeback MountainGroundhog DaySpring Breakers

Furthermore, your TA may provide an additional list of his or her own approved films for your essay, which would apply to your discussion group only Each TA determines his or her own individual approved film list.


Writing Guidelines


Only doc or docx files accepted.

Please remember to use the Term Essay Outline Template.

You are required to submit both a draft version and a final, revised version as MS Word documents, submitted through the Turnitin link, which records the date and time of your submission. No other form of submission is acceptable. There is a 24-hour grace period for the Term Essay Draft and for the Term Essay. Essays that are submitted late (after the grace period) are subject to a 20% deduction in points for every day late.

The Term Essay Draft must be 300-500 words (worth 50 points). The completed Term Essay must be at least 1,500 words (worth 300 points). Your revised, developed version of your Term Essay must include a detailed analysis of the film, which is a cohesive discussion with evidence of its characteristic components—yet much more than plot summary. In fact, plot summaries should be kept to a minimum (brief plot summaries or references are acceptable in support of an interpretive point). However, the Term Essay is a writing project in which you are expected to contribute an original essay on a film of your choosing (approved films are listed in Modules). You are discouraged from drawing upon professional reviews, either from the Internet or other sources.

For your Term Essay, you are required to select a film from the Approved Film List.These films are NOT part of the class viewing schedule. Films shown in class are NOT eligible as choices for your Term Essay. ONLY the titles in the Approved Film List are approved for your Term Essay (unless your TA has provided additional titles).

Your term essay should express, in clear language, the fundamental elements of the film, followed by your concrete judgment as to whether it is a good film, a poor film, or something in between. Do not leave your reader in doubt as to your overall judgment about the success or failure of the film. Sample student essays are posted on Canvas.

  • The first part of your Term Essay should be analytical. You want to explore how the different parts of the film come together and generate certain effects in (some) viewers. You cannot generalize for all viewers, but the effects on you are very important and should be articulated. Your Term Essay must include a thesis statement or a purpose of analysis, which is a discussion of its characteristic components.
  • The second part of your Term Essay, the evaluative component, asks you to make an articulate judgment (or series of judgments) about the film. In other words, you should indicate whether the film lives up to its potential (or fails to do so). You should have some clear criteria of evaluation in making your overall judgment (your descriptive criteria will provide you with supporting material here). One critical component in evaluation is effect. What effect(s) does the film have on you and how or why? Are these effects appropriate to the genre? Does the film introduce effects that are relatively innovative and new for you? How does this film compare with other films of the same genre with which you are familiar?

You are required to use at least FIVE approved interpretive terms, which are posted below and in your syllabus. You are required to boldface and highlight the terms and concepts that you are discussing.

Approved Essay Terms:

fade outrealismfilm editing (shot)
fade inantirealismflashback
dissolvesequencesmontage
low angle shotnarrative moviemaster shot
high angle shotgenrereverse shot
close upcharacter typecrosscutting
medium shotdiegetic soundintercutting
long shotnon-diegetic soundrepetition
cutting on actiondecòr costuming
implicit meaningchiaroscurodialogue
motifopen framecasting
point of viewclosed frameverisimilitude

 Rubric for Term Essay and Final Exam:

  • Organization:
    • Overall Organization (introduction, analysis, conclusion) 15%
    • Paragraph Development, including effective topic sentence and transitions 10%
  • Evidence:
    • Effective use of evidence/illustration 15%
    • Accurate use of terms and concepts 10%
  • Analysis:
    • Meets the analytical goals of the assignment 10%
    • Demonstrates critical thinking 10%
    • Effective analysis of potential effects of cinematic techniques 5%
  • Mechanics:
    • Effective use of grammar/style (diction, sentence structures, punctuation) 10%
    • Meets the minimum length of the assignment 10%
    • Effective understanding of audience, tone, point of view 5%

Student Learning Outcome for the Term Essay: The Term Essay, in all stages, serves as an opportunity to demonstrate the Creative Thinking Student Learning Outcomes that are a central part of the course:  1) Demonstrate responsiveness within an established disciplinary context (Film) to new information, experiences, and ideas through a process of re-evaluating the ideas and/or approaches; and 2) Break down complex problems to examine, propose, and support potential solutions, even if those solutions deviate from acceptable, mainstream solutions. These outcomes are embedded in your Term Essay in your articulation of historical contexts, your demonstrated knowledge of contemporary cinematic techniques, and your application of cinematic tools in the analytical creation of an original research project. Students will construct clear, coherent, and sustained arguments and will skillfully communicate meaning in a variety of formats with clarity and fluency in language appropriate to the audience. Students will also analyze cultural and historical features of films with attention to human diversity. Students will show their mastery of these areas in their written product, and these outcomes will be assessed according to the success achieved in each of these areas.

  

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