In this 5-part discussion, you will (1) view a self-selected film, (2) compose a 3-paragraph original post; (3 & 4) reply to two classmates’ original posts; and (5) reflect on the film review experience.
1. Review the materials above; then select a film of your own choosing. Before you view the film, you must find, read, and cite at least one research source beyond your textbook about the film (try Google Scholar or the SPC Library). If you cannot find a single research source or independent review of the film to use as a reference with citations, then you MUST select another film. In other words, the film must be one that has been written about. If it is a brand new film, check with your instructor first.
Your selection can be a full length feature film or a documentary of your own choosing. It must be at least 30 minutes in length. Be sure to watch the film immediately before writing this essay and consider jotting notes as you watch the film. Do not rely on your memory of a film you have previously seen. If you do, it will be obvious because this review requires close examination of the technical aspects of film.
2. After finding and reading a research source for integration in your essay (and carefully viewing the film), write a new thread using the following instructions:
In the FIRST paragraph (at least 150 words):
- What is the title of your selected film?
- Who is the director and what year was it released?
- Is it considered a “classic”?
- Identify any technical features of the film.
- What is the genre of the film (e.g. western, romantic comedy, film noir, documentary, etc.)?
In the SECOND paragraph (at least 150 words):
- Summarize the main plot and/or conflict in the film. Be sure to identify the main character(s) here.
- Using the themes and concepts noted in Section 9.7 in your textbook (in the section A Word on Critical Viewing), identify at least three of these themes and explain how they apply to your selected film.
- Indicate any “social issue,” if any, that is addressed in the film.
- Identify at least one “camera technique” or “use of sound” in the film, and explain how it affects the viewer.
In the THIRD paragraph (at least 150 words):
- Evaluate its “craft.” Is this a good example of this type of art? Is it well presented? What are its points of value? Does it have a message? Did we learn something from the characters and/or theme of this film? In what ways did the film resemble literature, theater, or art?
- What types of reviews did this film receive based on your research of other reviews or scholarly commentaries?
- In the end, what type of aesthetic experience did you have? Was it mostly an Apollonian or Dionysian experience?
- Would you recommend this work of art to others? If so (or not), why?
TWO RESPONSE POSTS REQUIRED
3. Read one of your classmates’ original posts, then compose a response post (at least 100 words) that does at least TWO of the following:
- Extends or adds to his/her point(s)
- Asks a clarifying question
- Disagrees (with reasoning and evidence) with the author’s analysis
- Adds to the understanding of the analysis
- Offers constructive suggestions for improvement
4. Repeat step 3 for one other classmate’s post (for a total TWO response posts).
NOTE: Be sure to do TWO SEPARATE response posts for a total of THREE posts so far (i.e. your original post and two response posts).
LAST STEP: Reflection Post
5. Finally, return to your own original post, and write a reflection reply to your own post of at least 50 words, in which you:
- Reflect on this personal critical response process and experience.
- Indicate whether you’ve learned anything additional after reviewing your classmates’ posts.
Consider stretching yourself for this assignment. You may want to watch one of the classic films that were mentioned in the lecture video or text. Or if you have never watched a documentary, consider watching one. If foreign films are new to you, consider that some of today’s best cinema is being created outside of this country. Don’t let subtitles scare you. After viewing the film for just a couple of minutes you will forget that you are reading subtitles and it will seem as if you are watching the film in English. But avoid films that are dubbed in English because often the dubbing is poor and makes for a bad film experience.
Below are a few suggestions for documentaries and foreign films that you might enjoy. All are available on Netflix and similar streaming services:
Documentaries (Suggested only-You can select your own film if you do not want to view any of the suggestions below):
- The Thin Blue Line
- Hoop Dreams
- Man on Wire
- The Queen of Versailles
- How to Survive a Plague
- Paris is Burning
- China Blue
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi
- Craigslist Joe
Foreign Films (Suggested only-You can select your own film if you do not want to view any of the suggestions below):
- The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
- Tell No One
- Shall We Dance?
- The Chorus
- Like Water for Chocolate
- The Triplets of Belleville
- Cinema Paradiso
- Ballet Russes
Alternatively, you can select your own feature film so long as you can find professional commentary on it or get instructor approval.