This final paper is a comparative analysis of two films, one that we watched in class and one we did not. A film analysis is NOT a plot summary (what happened blow by blow in the film). Your analysis should include identifying contexts (historical, theoretical, cultural, etc.) and film forms (editing, filming, mise-en-scene, etc.) and how these work together to create meaning. The films forms are the language through which the film speaks to us. You may want to review topics on the different films forms. There is a document that outlines the film forms in the introductory section of this course.
For the Comparative Film Analysis, you will write an essay that compares two films; one we watched in class to one we did not watch in class. In each topic on Cougar Courses, additional films that relate to the topic are listed. Choose one of the suggested films that we did NOT watch entirely in class. Watch that film and write a four-page paper about the film that analyzes form and context, and compares/contrasts it to at least one film we did watch in class. Use at least four examples of form and context from each film (and how they relate to other film), and how these work together to create meaning. If you have another film that you would like to analyze besides those suggested, please ask the instructor for approval. It should relate to the topic (neorealism, magic realism, etc.).
Have at least five (5) citations or references. These should come from the instructor’s video lectures (cite topic and lecture), outside sources (books, articles), websites, or other materials you have watched or read for this course to support your analysis (cite these). For instance, if you are writing about the Battle of Algiers, in addition to using the information that the instructor presented about neorealism, you will also need to do research the colonization of Algeria and the fight for independence in order to bring its historical and political context into your analysis.
Make sure your make a strong thesis statement. A thesis statement appears in the first paragraph of the your essay, and it a hook to the content. For instance, you could write, “The Battle of Algiers and Rome Open City share film forms that bring real life struggles for independence to the screen through several narrative forms related to the neorealism.”
Here are some suggested approaches to your essay (but you should choose your own and develop your own analysis):
Compare Battle of Algiers with Italian Neorealist films. What film forms do they share? What are the issues that each addresses and how are they similar? How do they depict the struggles of colonized people? Or compare another Neorealist film, such as Bicycle Thief (or Bicycles Thieves, as it was originally named) to Rome, Open City.
Compare Night of the Shooting Stars to Pan’s Labyrinth or Beasts of the Southern Wild or Shape of Water. How is magic-realism used in each to portray the experience of the young protagonist in Pan’s Labyrinth or in the Beasts? Shape of Water is open-ended – how does this relate to magic realism and postmodernism?
Compare Let the Right One in to Let Me In. How does the cultural context of each film make it different from the other? How does the lore stay the same and how does this kind of isolation transcend cultures?
Compare The Circle to Persepolis. How is Iranian law, custom and culture represented in the films? How do the women’s story of growing in up Iran differ? What does the film form of animation bring to story that differs from neorealist conventions?
Compare Run Lola Run to another postmodern film – several are listed. How do the narrations utilize non-linear techniques to tell the story? Why are they constructed as such?