Paper #4: Film Analysis
Part I: Claim, Due Friday 11/16
For this final paper, I want you to make a claim about our film as
a biography or autobiography.
Your claim should focus on the film as a genre of biography or
autobiography. Your claim should not attempt to offer an
interpretation of the entire film, or to provide a commentary on the
films themes and content, except as the interpretation and
content relate to our theme. Your claim and argument should do one of
(1) Offer an opinion about how the film functions as a biography
or autobiography. (Some questions to consider: How do we know
its a biography? How does it tell the story of its
biographical/ autobiographical subject? What is the relationship
between the films authors director, screenplay
writer, actor, etc. and its subject?)
(2) Compare and contrast one aspect of the film as biography or
autobiography to another biographical or autobiographical "text"
(including the A&E Biography) that weve studied
this semester. You must focus on something specific: an aspect of
style or form, a thematic concern, the role of memory, the
position of the narrator, the treatment of events, the handling of
time, the balance of fact and fiction, etc.
(3) Compare and contrast this genre of biography or
autobiography to another genre that weve looked at this
semester. (For example, how is what a film does like or unlike
what a novel does? How is it like or unlike what a "profile"
Part II: Introduction, Due Monday 11/26
After you have articulated your claim, you can begin to write your
introduction. Unlike our last paper, which dealt with a tangible
problem, this paper will deal with a conceptual problem. Remember
that your claim is the response to a question. Your introduction
should explain to your reader what question your claim answers, and
why the reader should care about this answer. What does your claim/
answer help your reader understand about the film? About the film as
a biography or autobiography? In other words, you should employ the
elements of a problem statement to write this introduction.
Part III: Paper, Due Wednesday 11/28
Finally, you will support your claim/ answer in a paper/ argument
of 3-5 pages. In your paper/ argument, you should use evidence from
the film itself. Consider quoting individual characters, providing
specific scenes, discussing particular camera techniques, and
referring to details of costuming, set, or musical score. To do this
you will need to review the relevant dialogue (scenes, etc.) very
carefully, remembering to cite this material as necessary. If our
film is based on a real, rather than a fictional figure, then
additional research into the historical background of our film is
highly recommended, but not absolutely required.
Note: Please bring two copies of your paper to class on
Wednesday 11/28. One of these copies must be accompanied by a
completed Argument Outline worksheet.