Film Analysis Project

For this project you’ll be assigned a group and a film.

Your task is to very thoughtfully choose a scene from your film that not only lends itself to a thorough formal analysis, but that relates in undeniably meaningful ways to the film as a whole. Your scene should also resonate with some of the major themes of the course.

The scene you pick should not be longer than 3 or 4 minutes. You’ll then have about 10 minutes to explain the scene to your audience.

Here’s how to begin:

1. Review the Yale Film Analysis Guide and Villarejo’s “The Language of Film”. These readings constitute the theoretical foundation of your response to the assignment.

2. Turn off your phone and put it away, then screen the film with your group. This is a requirement, not a suggestion. If all the members of your group are not present then you have not fulfilled the assignment. Take notes. Talk it out. Work toward some consensus. The conversation you have is one of the most important parts of the assignment. This kind of intellectual give and take is supposed to be pleasurable and invigorating; it’s one of the best parts of being a college student.

3. Decide on your group’s scene. In person, via email, whatever: the decision isn’t made until everyone expresses an opinion.

4. Now write a formal analysis (4-5 pages). Each person, individually, should deconstruct the scene using the key concepts of film studies. Remember the four major categories: mise-en-scène, camera work, editing, sound.  While you don’t necessarily need to undertake a shot-by-shot analysis (though you’re welcome to do so) you should note the time signature of the shots you do discuss. How do the scene’s formal choices emphasize its dramatic content? What and how does the scene signify?

5. Upload your analysis to ilearn PRIOR TO the date of your presentation. Give it a real title.

6. Meet once more with your group to rehearse your presentation. This is very important. Make sure you can meet the time constraint. Be sure to have the time signature of your scene down to the exact second.