How to Write a Film Analysis Paper

The film analysis paper is designed to be a short essay, which allows you to begin thinking about the movie. Writing helps you to think, since you have to articulate your otherwise unformed or vague thoughts.  This, in turn, will help us to have a good discussion of the film in class.

The essay does not need to be longer than 600 words (2 double spaced pages). These words should not summarize the plot / story of the film, except where it is necessary to make your examples clear, since your audience (me) has seen it (sometimes several times!). Rather, devote your limited words to ANALYZING the film.

In your analysis, you need to address the following questions, not necessarily in this order and certainly not as a checklist, but rather in the form of an essay, with a thesis statement, specific examples drawn from the film, and with a conclusion.

1) What is the film’s goal?

2) How well has the goal been accomplished?

  1. a) What are the primary conflicts in the movie?
  2. b) How do they contribute to the movie’s goal / meaning?

3) What issues – social, cultural, religious, theological, etc. – does the movie raise?

4) What does it simulate you to think about?

Your essay should incorporate discussion of technical issues related to film making (we will be learning more and more about this as we work through Giannetti’s book). These sorts of issues might relate to issues such as:

  1. Photography, including lighting, color, etc.
  2. mise-en-scene
  3. movement
  4. music
  5. acting
  6. sets / costume

These technical issues are not to be covered in a separate paragraph, but integrated into your general discussion.

Format and Submission

Papers will be due in class the Tuesday after we view the film.  If you choose to email me the paper, please do so in either .doc, .docx, or pdf formats.

They should be double spaced, with one-inch margins, using Times New Roman, 12pt font. They should have an interesting title (not just the name of the movie!) and your name should appear at the top of the first page.



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