Movie Analysis

This week’s assignment involves watching two movies, one from list A, the other from list B. The movies in list A tend more toward the serious—i.e. dramas; list B features movies that lean toward the comedic, or at least the absurd. All films are available through the Swank streaming video database, accessible through the FSW library website. After watching one selection of your choice from each list, you will write a short synopsis of both films, and then a brief analysis of a scene from one-and only one-of the movies.

Start off with a brief synopsis of the one you aren’t analyzing. Be sure and include some details as you go, details like how the film was paced, and how the scenes and technical details contributed to the overall dramatic or comedic effect of the movie. Next, give a brief synopsis of your second film, then focus on one scene that seemed particularly effective. Get inside the structure of the scene, looking at things like how the shots are set up, how the sequence is edited (the cuts) for effect, how the lighting and direction and acting contribute. Is the scene comedic or dramatic (be mindful that a dramatic scene can appear in a comedy and vice versa)? Does the ambience or set or lighting of the scene seem to contribute to the overall effect (recall how in The Godfather interior scenes are usually dark and cavern-like, making the set feel like the underworld). Does the scene in some way join meaningfully to the broader message of the movie? Be sure and use some of the terms that have been learned in this course to give rigor to your analysis.

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Post your synopses and analysis on your blog. Feel free to use any visuals that you think would help, or that might make the posting look good. Your posting should be at least 450 words. This assignment will be assessed on its formal clarity, the quality of the writing and editing, its degree of engagement with its topic, its creativity/inventiveness/originality of ideas, and the sophistication of thought it expresses.

List A (Dramas)

Moonlight
The Piano
Arrival
Freaks (Todd Browning)
Casablanca

List B (Comedies)

Being John Malkovich
Black Klansman
Some Like It Hot
Lost in Translation
Dr. Strangelove

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