critical analysis

Having developed a greater understanding about film and aspects of the film art, and its influence on society and culture, the students will conclude their Film Appreciation journey exercising their analytical and critical skills, writing a critical analysis of a film selected from the list below.

Choose and watch ONE of the films listed below (the student must rent the film):

    • Do the Right Thing (1989), directed by Spike Lee
    • All About My Mother (1999), directed by Pedro Almodóvar
    • Monsoon Wedding (2001), directed by Mira Nair
    • The Lives of Others (2006), directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
    • Son of Saul (2015), directed by László Nemes
    • Atlantics (2019), directed by Mati Diop
    • Parasite (2019), directed by Bong Joon Ho
    • Promising Young Woman (2020), Emerald Fennell
    • Nomadland (2020), directed by Chloé Zhao
    • The Power of the Dog (2021), directed by Jane Campion

In this essay, the students will critically analyze the language of film and film’s relevance in social, political, economic and/or artistic contexts. The critical analysis should explore formal aspects of the film and its influence on society and culture, demonstrating an appreciation of the film experience.

  • How do the story, mise-en-scène, cinematography, video editing and sound design, performance and/or the director’s vision tell the film story? (The students must discuss at least two film elements)
  • How do these elements communicate social, political, economic and/or artistic contexts?
  • What is the film influence on society and culture?

The students should identify patterns of form (techniques) and/or theme in several scenes (or the whole film), and include detailed descriptions presenting and supporting these ideas.

The students must cite at least two scholarly sources in their essay. IMPORTANT: the textbook and the course content materials do NOT count as those sources, but the students are encouraged to use them (textbook and course content materials) in addition to other sources. Also, Wikipedia and IMBD are NOT scholarly sources.

The critical analysis is an argumentative essay. The students should develop their ideas for the film providing support for their arguments, information that confirms the ideas presented.

    • Essay Structure Suggestion

First, write a thesis: what is your essay about, and what do you want to say about the film? The answer for these questions, and the reasons and examples you give will help you structure your essay. Broadly speaking, your essay should have an introduction, where you provide background information about the work to be discussed and present your thesis; a body, where you discuss the reasons and argument for your thesis; and a conclusion, where you re-state your thesis and present a final reflection on the ideas presented.

    • Formatting

Use MLA guidelines (ODU Library Guides-MLA) in formatting the essay. It must be typewritten in 12-point font, double-spaced with no extra spaces between paragraphs, and with 1-inch margins.

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