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final paper

Final Research Paper: Due Week 11: 4-6 page, double-spaced, research paper that demonstrates your understanding of film aesthetics as applied to a film(s). The film must be available streaming or on DVD, so you can repeat viewings and close textual analysis with the material rather than your “memory” of it. This assignment requires immersion with the film-watch as many times as you can. Your essay should discuss how the films exploits this element of film form by using detailed, concrete references to specific scenes and shots in the film.

For example: the paper can be a focus on two or three films by the same director, a comparison and contrast of two films from different time periods, a look at one of the aesthetics elements across multiple films, a detail analysis of one aesthetic element listed below:

Mise-en-Scene (sets and props, costumes and make-up, lighting–including quality, source, direction and color), figure expression and movement–including acting and performance style, space–organization of space (movement, color, balance); depth (planes of action, perspective, and shallow/deep space)

Cinematography – camera movement (including tilts, pans, etc.) and speed of motion (under- and over-cranked shots), perspective relations, depth of field, special effects–including use of lenses, focus, and any discernible special effects, composition, type of shots, camera movement, color (lighting)

Editing – graphic relations, rhythmic relations, spatial relations, temporal relations

Sound – diegetic (part of the story), non-diegetic (outside the story), sound effects, dialogue, lack of sound, musical score, narration etc.

Genres/subgenres – various types of films which audiences and filmmakers recognize by their familiar narrative conventions. Ex. Western, adventures, etc.

This is an academic paper, be sure to follow the format of a standard English paper with an introduction, thesis statement, paragraphs with introductory sentences, and conclusion paragraph. Please proof read your papers carefully! Points will be deducted for poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

-You may choose to include film stills of the scenes analyzed to illustrate your argument (however, this is in addition to the page requirement).
-You must have at least 4 sources –books and academic articles- of your research using the online and school library.

-A 1/2 page summary of the film(s) at the end of the paper. The summary must be written by you.

– An MLA Work Cited page citing your quoted sources within your text. Refer to the online library through the student portal. Click on Citation/Research Managers. Refer to “Why Cite” and “MLA Format.”

Refer to the book “A Short Guide to Writing About Film” by Corrigan as well as the handout.

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your understood the elements we have discussed throughout the course as well as your analysis, writing, and research skills. It is also an opportunity to share your passion for the elements of filmmaking and your interpretation of the films’ aesthetic techniques, so enjoy the process!

Plagiarism: The use of work other than your own without proper citation or credit is a serious offense. As well as disrespect for the creative author of the piece. Penalties for plagiarism include: failure on the assignment and/or College academic discipline.

Film Aesthetic Research Paper Rubric

Exemplary 5.0

A to A-

Satisfactory 4.0

B+ to B-

Needs Improvement- 2.5 pts. C to D+

Opinion/Analysis/Critical Understanding


Makes a strong case for the film’s as a communication tool. Addresses and discusses selection of several or all of elements: narrative, sound, cinematography, editing, performance, theory etc. Connects the relevance of film techniques to content presented.

Voices an opinion and states observations, but does not explain in depth why elements in the film such as narrative, cinematography, editing, theory, sound, etc are present as they are and their relevance in the story.

Has virtually no opinion about the film or has an opinion that is not backed up by any examples from the films and does not connect its elements and techniques to the story as a communication too.

Examples from films, textbook, and research from sources (include a works cited)


Provides relevant examples from the film (scenes, sequences, techniques) to back-up analysis and opinion about the film’s techniques that support themes and issues explored in the film. Includes terminology discussed in class, multiple research sources. Is specific and detailed.

Provides some examples from the film that support an opinion. Uses few class references, terminology, cinematic techniques, and 1 or 2 examples from sought research. Does not often connect these sources and examples to analysis and opinion.

Includes no examples from the films, no reference to research done individually.

Spelling/Grammar/Voice /Writing Style/ Essay Organization


Makes virtually no spelling, grammar, punctuation errors. Chooses interesting and appropriate words, contains well-constructed sentences and paragraphs. Ideas and paper is organized and clear by sections.

Makes 2-3 spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Uses appropriate word choice but may have a few poorly constructed sentences and run-on sentences. Some organization, but not carried out through the whole paper.

Multiple writing errors, inappropriate word choices, poorly constructed sentences or paragraphs. Document is unorganized.

*12 pt font Times New Roman, Double Spaced

* Include a Works Cited

*Use MLA Format

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