RESEARCH OR ANALYTICAL PAPER GUIDELINES
This assignment gives you an opportunity to explore an area of film history—between 1950 and today—that interests you. Topic possibilities and approaches are numerous.
RESEARCH PAPER: This focuses on some aspect of film history with emphasis on research using published material. Proper citations and complete bibliography of source materials are REQUIRED. Read “What is plagiarism?”: http://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism.
Also read “What Is Citation?”: http://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-citation. Follow the in-text citation style of MLA (Modern Language Association): https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/m… ext_citations_the_basics.html
Also adhere to the MLA guidelines for the Works Cited page: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/m… ks_cited_page_basic_format.html
Documentation MUST be complete, and citations (including endnotes or footnotes and Works Cited or Bibliography) MUST be in an acceptable format to receive credit for this paper. FIVE (5) or more SCHOLARLY references are required. Beware of inaccurate information on Internet sites, including the open-source Wikipedia, a non-scholarly source.
If this is your first Film Studies class, I recommend that you write a research paper.
GENERAL TOPIC AREAS:
Technological Film History: technical developments that changed the course of film history and their
impact on the artistic process, such as widescreen formats, color, 3-D, and virtual reality; technological
and aesthetic influences upon the development of deep-focus cinematography; the deterioration and preservation of color films; special effects in the cinema; sound; digital technology and the cinema.
Industrial Film History: film financing; marketing, distribution and exhibition; labor relations in Hollywood; corporate studios and vertical integration; product placement in feature films; the San Francisco Bay Area motion picture industry; current state of independent production; the new studios such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
Social Film History: McCarthyism in Hollywood; censorship and the movies; the image of minority groups such as African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, Asians, women or LGBTQ; social problems as depicted on film (racial or ethnic prejudice, alcoholism, drug use, crime); image studies (depiction of the Vietnam War on film, politics on film; 9/11 on film); the effects of film on viewer behavior and attitude; film as a reflection of psychological and cultural identity; the star image and cult of celebrity.
Aesthetic Film History: realism vs. formalism; auteur theory; psychoanalysis and the cinema; neoformalism; Marxist critique; mythologies; feminist approaches; genre study (Western, comedy, musical, science fiction, horror, drama); movements (Italian neorealism, French New Wave, Dogme95).
Film History Research: compile an annotated list of scholarly film websites and/or databases on the Internet. Address their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how you assessed their credibility. Consider categorizing the material according to domain name suffix (com, edu, gov, mil, net, org).
BIOGRAPHIES ARE UNACCEPTABLE.
Please contact me if you need more specific topic ideas within the general areas suggested.
ANALYTICAL PAPER: This paper demands thinking, defining and supporting your ideas about a specific film topic. Developing and communicating a critical judgment in writing is much more difficult than sharing an opinion in casual conversation. You may need to do some research and documentation in connection with your paper. This option is available only to those who have already completed at least one Film Studies course.
GENERAL TOPIC AREAS:
Themes: loss of individuality and fear of technology in science fiction films; inability to vanquish evil in contemporary horror films; the political, mythological or psychological implications of a film such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Golden Compass, District 9, The Hunger Games or Her; the impact of consumerist culture (American Beauty, Fight Club); unabashed patriotism or distrust of authority (Blackhawk Down and We Were Soldiers vs. Spartan; The Bourne Ultimatum and In the Valley of Elah; Argo and Zero Dark Thirty; American Sniper); the political or cultural activism of films such as Good Night, and Good Luck, Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Babel, Milk, 12 Years A Slave or The Post; LBGTQ issues in films such as Glen or Glenda, The Crying Game, Boys Don’t Cry, All About My Mother, Transamerica, The Danish Girl, Carol or Moonlight; analysis of the themes of any current release.
Characterization: antiheroes in film noir; alienated youth in American films of the late 1960s; comic book heroes on film; explosive white male as depicted in Falling Down, The Bad Lieutenant, 187, The Funeral, Fight Club or The Master; female action heroes as depicted in La Femme Nikita, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Hunger Games or Wonder Woman.
Form: anti-traditional stylistics in film noir; French New Wave techniques in The 400 Blows; influence of music video, videogames and commercials on feature film style; the new narratives and fractured time of Jim Jarmusch, Julie Dash, Quentin Tarantino, John Sayles, Tom Tykwer, Steven Soderbergh, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Wong Kar-Wai or Christopher Nolan; Peter Greenaway, Mike Figgis, Michael Haneke or Richard Linklater’s experiments with film form and theory; the aesthetics of cell phone-made films.
Comparison and contrast: remakes such as Breathless, Funny Games, Infernal Affairs or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; a film adaptation of a literary work such as Dracula, The Hours, The Pianist, No Country for Old Men, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Life of Pi or If Beale Street Could Talk; a film adaptation of a graphic novel; two directors with commonalities, such as Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen; two similar films from different periods, such as a French New Wave film and Frances Ha.
Genre groupings: plots, conventions and iconography of a specific genre.
Auteur groupings: 2-3 films by the same director, cinematographer or screenwriter.
Emerging trends: Films set in and/or created by emerging Oakland-San Francisco filmmakers (writer- director Ryan Coogler/Fruitvale Station and Black Panther; writer-director-composer Boots Riley/Sorry to Bother You; producer-writer-actor Daveed Diggs/Blindspotting; producer-writer-director Peter Nicks/The Waiting Room and The Force; writer-director Joe Talbot/The Last Black Man in San Francisco, among others); Films exploring our relationship with technology, particularly with Artificial Intelligence.
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