The Cinematic Auteur
As you prepare to write this discussion, take a few moments to do the following:
- Review the Modeled Discussion.
- Read any required and recommended reading materials for this week, especially Chapter 9 from the text.
- Review the grading rubric for this discussion.
Auteur theory in film suggests not only that a director is the primary author of a film, but also that the film must be analyzed within the context of the director’s other films. Directors create certain expectations with their films much in the same way authors create certain expectations with their writing. Are there directors whose work you always recognize when you see it? What qualities bind their works together?
Write (due Thursday, Day 3)
As you construct your initial post, focus on the importance of auteur theory in film analysis and interpretation.
- Name a director who you would consider an auteurs and explain your reasoning.
- Discuss the arguments against auteurs theory and provide examples to support your points.
- Examine how the auteur theory influences audiences and critics, using examples from film criticism, film marketing campaigns, and your own personal experience.
Include the name of the director you identified in the “Subject” line of your discussion. Your initial post should be at least 200 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and/or other scholarly sources, and properly cite any references.
Respond to Peers (due Monday, Day 7)
Respond to at least two of your classmates who named a different director than you. In each response, discuss whether or not you agree with your classmate’s assertion that the director being considered is an auteur, and be sure to provide examples to support your position. Your responses should be 125 to 150 words each.
Acting and Acting Styles
As we have been discussing, the mise en scène of a film is the use of a variety of design elements to create the visual theme. As you prepare to write this discussion, take a few moments to do the following:
- Read any required and recommended reading materials for this week, especially Chapter 5 (Mise en Scene and Actors).
- Review the grading rubric for this discussion.
- Select a full-length film from the AFI 10 Top 10 list.
Mise en scène refers to different technical elements used in making a film such as lighting and sound, both of which you have already analyzed in this course. The term also encompasses the role of actors in a film, their physical positioning and movements within the frame, as well as the different styles and types of acting.
You can classify an actor’s type using only one film as reference, but these categories are subject to change. Each new role helps to clarify or shift an actor’s designation. Do some actors always fall into the same category? How can actors change from category to category? Does genre have any effect on the acting styles present in a given film?
Write (due Thursday, Day 3)
Using specific examples from your chosen film, write an initial post of at least 200 words which should
- Identify three actors from your film and classify each according to the types of actors listed in your text.
- Explain your reasons for classifying the actors as you do. Use specific references to the film and pay special attention to how these decisions impacted characterization. Also, consider the impact of any realistic or stylized portrayals within the film.
- Focus on one of the actors you’ve discussed. Based on other films the actor has been in, would this actor always be placed in the same category? If so, what does this say about the category or actor? If not, what can you infer about the flexibility of these categories? Provide evidence (references from other films, including film clips and stills) to support your argument.
You must use at least two outside sources, in any combination of embedded video clips, still photos, or scholarly sources. All sources should be documented in APA style as outlined by the Ashford Writing Center.
Final Film Critique Preparation
Look ahead at the Final Film Critique (Week Five) and review the instructions carefully. Use this time to prepare for the completion of your project. Review the feedback from your Week Two and Week Three assignments and integrate the suggested changes. Be sure to reach out to your instructor if you have questions.
Throughout this course, you have been writing essays and participating in discussion forums that analyze various elements of film such as theme, cinematic techniques, and genre. It is now time to combine those elements into a comprehensive analysis of one movie.
You will be completing this assignment in two stages. For the first stage (1500 to 1800 words), you will analyze an entire movie. In the second stage (300 to 600 words), you will reflect on how you analyzed the movie as well as how your ability to analyze film in general has evolved.
You are encouraged to incorporate writing from your Week Two and Week Three assignments if (a) you have reflected on the instructor’s feedback, (b) you have revised the relevant parts of the essays accordingly, and (c) the essays discuss the same film that you discuss here.
Stage 1: Analysis
For this stage, you will be analyzing a movie selected from the AFI’s 10 Top 10 list. The film you choose can be one that you have previously analyzed in this course. While you are allowed to choose a film that does not come from the AFI lists, you are strongly encouraged to email your professor to receive approval before doing so.
The analysis portion of your paper should be 1500 to 1800 words in length. You should analyze the film through the lens of one of the broad theories you have learned about in class (auteur theory, genre theory, formalist theory). Your analysis must address four main areas (contextual information, story/plot, aesthetic choices, and social/personal impact) and how these areas work together to develop the theme of the movie. As you construct your analysis, assume that your reader is not familiar with this film. Use your analysis to explain to your reader why they should watch this film.
In addition to the film you are analyzing, you must use three scholarly sources to support your arguments. Refer to the ENG225 Research Guide in the Ashford University Library for guidance and to locate your sources. Cite your sources (including the feature-length film) within the text of your paper and on the reference page. Cite your sources according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
Your analysis must address the following components (noted in bold below):
- Contextual Information– In this area, you will provide some of the basic identifying information of the film. This includes:
- Director, cinematographer, major actors/actresses. Be sure to describe their roles in the overall design process.
- Year of release
- Type of film (blockbuster, indie, documentary, etc.)
- Story/Plot – In this area, you should offer a brief summary of the film, and then show how it was deployed in the narrative structure of the film. Explain the difference between the film’s story and its plot. This area can be addressed as a separate paragraph, or can be threaded throughout your analysis of the film.
- Aesthetic Choices– In this area, you will assess the efficacy of specific techniques and design elements employed in the film as they apply to the overarching narrative and theme of the film. These elements include:
- Mise en scène (e.g., lighting, sound, composition of frame, costuming, etc.)
- Editing (e.g., cuts and transitions, shots used, angles, etc.)
- Technology (i.e., analyze the impact of any notable technological effects: film stock, targeted release venue, special effects, etc.)
- Social/Personal Impact– In this area, you will critically address the following questions:
- What impact did this film have on society (i.e., politically or culturally, positive or negative)? The impact can be as major as inspiring political or social changes or as minor as inspiring the production of toys or lunchboxes.
- How did society affect this film (i.e., what currents in society led to the creation of the film)?
- If you are unable to find any information about the social impact of the film, explain the personal impact it has had on you.
Note: Not every bullet point under the four listed components will necessarily apply to your movie. However, you will still need to discuss each of the four main components thoroughly, which means that you may need to explain a concept even if it can’t be directly applied to your movie.
Your paper should be organized around a thesis statement that clarifies what you will attempt to accomplish in your paper, and how you will proceed. Additionally, you must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a conclusion paragraph.
Stage 2: Reflection
After completing your movie analysis, you will reflect on the analysis process and how you have learned to more thoroughly analyze film as well as how rigorous study of film enhances your development as a student and thinker. In this 300- to 600-word reflection, review your initial post from the “Post Your Introduction” discussion in Week One, and consider how your ability to analyze movies has changed or grown. Append your reflection to the analysis portion of your paper and submit as one document. Your reflection should be personal and exploratory in nature.
Address the following questions in your reflection:
- What can be gained through analyzing film?
- How has this changed the way you view movies?
- How are you able to use film theory and criticism to find and interpret meaning in movies?
- In what ways has this course changed your understanding of how movies are related to society?
- What skills have you developed during this course, and how might those skills be applied to your major, profession, and/or life?
The Final Film Critique
- Must be one document that is 1800 to 2400 words in length, comprised of a 1500- to 1800-word film analysis and a 300- to 600-word reflection.
- Must include a separate title and reference page, and be formatted according to APA style as outlined in Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
- Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
- Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
- Must use at least three scholarly sources (reviews, articles, or book chapters) other than the textbook to support your points. Refer to the ENG225 Research Guide for guidance.
- Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a separate reference page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.