Film Responses Instruction:
Historical analysis of film requires a close reading of the film itself, but also a solid understanding of the historical context of the movie’s production and reception. The lectures and readings will provide some of this context, enabling you to interpret this film as “primary documents,” or as products of their specific historical time periods and as reflections of and contributors to transforming cultural and political discourses and debates.
The goal of this assignment is to locate the film in its political, historical, and/or cultural context and offer your own response and insights. It is not simply a summary of the film, but provides you an opportunity to engage with film, critique it, and relate it to other readings and materials provided in class, and, when appropriate, your own knowledge and interests.
In addition to the film, aim for at least two additional references. You may also
draw on other resources that have not been assigned in this class, but you are not required to.
Resources from class:
William M. Tsutsui, “Looking Straight at “Them!” Understanding the Big Bug Movies of the 1950s,” 2007.
Your papers should focus on critical analysis, rather than solely describing the plots of the films. Also, be sure to move beyond statements of opinion about whether you liked or disliked the film, which are not relevant to this assignment. For example, in your analysis, comment on the larger themes and context of the film: What political, social, or cultural issues does the film raise? What is the film critiquing? What position does it take?
In this short assignment, you will not be able to address every issue or theme presented in a film, so you will have to make a decision about what aspects of the film you would like to focus on.
This assignment also builds your skills at writing critical concise papers, a task that is an important academic skill, but can be very difficult. Take notes to organize your thoughts. Have someone proofread your assignment. Read your writing out loud to slow down your review so you can catch spelling and grammatical errors. Use words that make sense to you. Incorporating quotes from the films or readings is important but be selective and avoid lengthy block quotes (this is a short paper) and make sure you also introduce the quotes and explain their relevance in your own words.
– You may write in first person voice if you would like.
– Don’t spend too much space describing plot. There is a fine balance providing critical analysis and enough content details and examples from the films so that a reader (who may not have seen the film) can follow your argument.
– Don’t forget to reference your sources. Historians use the Chicago format for citations. You can use whichever citation format you are familiar with in your discipline (i.e., Chicago, APA, MLA), but be sure to be consistent. We will offer a session on citations.
– Include a bibliography, which lists the film along with other resources.
– Feel free to incorporate images into your review, but be sure to include captions and references (but be sure to still have approx. 750 words).
For more information on Historical Analysis of Film read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_analysis
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