Paper 3: Film

Unit Three: Argument in Relation to One Text: Film

Movies and films can serve as tools for creating cultural commentary and satire, can engage with serious social and political issues, and create deep arguments even in the silliest of movies. In this unit, we will explore how actors, directors, and writers (etc) manipulate cinematic features to engage critical discourses on multiple levels. We will look at plots and themes, but also at subtler aspects such as lighting, blocking, and camera angles to explore these ideas. Ultimately, you will create an argument for how a movie is addressing a specific issue, culture, or discourse, why, and the ramifications of the interactions between audience, film, and discourse communities.

For this paper, we will be watching two movies in class. Our viewing and discussions will serve as a heuristic, an example and strategy tool for writing your paper. We will choose the movies together in advance. It might be easiest for you to write your paper on one of these two movies, but you are not limited to these two options. Please talk to me as soon as possible if you are considering using another movie.

Questions to get you thinking about this paper: Why do you usually watch movies? For entertainment? To relax? To laugh? To learn something new? What kinds of movies do you like watching? Do you usually watch movies alone, or with family or friends? What “deeper meaning” do you think can be found in films? Think of a movie which changed the way you thought about an issue. How did it do so? Think about Ethos, Pathos and Logos as you consider this (we will talk about this more in class). What cinematic terms are you familiar with? What aspects and features of a scene convey its tone? What questions do you have/what information do you feel you need in order to be able to write this paper?

Due Dates:

Thursday 10-6: Turn in a one page, single spaced, typed letter describing three possible topics for your paper. List a possible thesis statement for each topic.

Thursday 10-20: Turn in a hard-copy of a rough draft of your paper.

Thursday 10-27: A hard copy of your final draft is due