This assignment introduces you to the process involved in how to interpret and analyze a film, as a text, and then write about it. Much of what falls under the practice of film analysis involves discovering what others who are experts in their field have written about a text, then taking those interpretations and opinions and utilizing them to back up your own assertion.
Films use a variety of methods (e.g., images, words, sounds, and various film techniques) in order to present an argument. This prompt asks you to view a film and to analyze the rhetorical and persuasive strategies employed by the filmmaker in the construction of the film’s argument.
Your essay should not be a summary of the film, nor should it be a review based on your personal reaction to it. The aim of the assignment is to identify the filmmaker’s thesis and to analyze the rhetorical strategies and persuasive devices and film techniques used in order to develop the film’s thesis.
Your essay should do all of the following:
1. Identify the main argument and / or purpose of the film (this is somewhat subject to interpretation).
2. Provide a brief summary of the film and the “main characters” in and “plot” of the film.
3. Examine the ways in which the thesis or aim of the film’s argument is supported through rhetorical and persuasive strategies (e.g., presentation of facts, dismissing credibility of counterfactual information, not addressing certain related issues, etc.). What is the filmmaker’s purpose? What is the argument/thesis of the film? What assertions/claims are made? To what extent does the argument have validity? Are there fallacies, contradictions, or inconsistencies in the argument? What is the attitude or viewpoint of the filmmaker? Tone?
What cinematic techniques does the filmmaker use to make their
point (e.g., consider the diction and syntax of the film)? How does the structure of the film help achieve its purpose?
4. To focus your ideas, you’ll need to choose a selection of scenes to analyze. Do not attempt to discuss everything about the film. Your chosen scenes from the film should represent the best the evidence or claims for the film’s purpose. Explain why these seem to the most interesting, truthful, or persuasive and analyze how the filmmaker uses them to present the film’s argument (Use your expert judgment to pick as many as you find necessary for your critique).
• Length: Three to five pages
• Format: Follow MLA guidelines.
• Source Usage: Two sources: the primary text (film) and one academic, peer reviewed essay. The paper must include a properly formatted works cited page with these two citations.