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Paper 2 Assignment

Paper 2 Assignment and Presentation Guidelines
Presentation Schedule and Signup Form


April 7, 2010. E-mail your prospectus by 9 p.m. to

April 21, 2010. Paper 2 (paper version) due in class; e-mail your e-version by 9 p.m.

April 27-29, 2010. Paper presentations in class.

Length: 7-9 typed, double-spaced pages (about 2,500--3,200 words)

For this paper, you may want to consult film journals and books in addition to providing your own close analysis.  The principal approaches that you’ll be taking are discussed in Corrigan, Chapter Four: film history, film adaptations, formalism, genres, and ideological approaches.


  1. Using a film history approach, explore the ways in which a particular film reflected a social movement or issue of its time.  You may also want to consider the ways in which a film was received and discuss any controversies surrounding it.
  2. Choosing a film set in an earlier historical period, examine the ways in which the film actually reflects the values of the time in which it was produced.  For example, in what ways does the gangster culture of Bonnie and Clyde reflect 1960s culture, or The Godfather represent the capitalism of the 1970s? You might also choose to compare a film or character from an earlier era with a similar film from a more contemporary era (for example, a noir film from the 1940s with a neo-noir film).
  3. In what ways does a particular film embody the features of a genre (such as film noir or screwball comedy)? In what ways does that same film subvert some of the features of the genre?  You might also discuss a film that crosses genres: for example, Mildred Pierce is both a domestic melodrama and a film noir; Storm Warning is a social protest film but has elements of film noir, and so forth.
  4. Choosing three or four films from a particular era, examine the ways in which those films address social issues such as racial prejudice, poverty, or gender stereotyping.
  5. Examine closely the ways in which a film creates the world of its point of view character and shows that character’s experiences, including his or her emotional or intellectual growth. You might consider such elements as the composition of various shots, elements in the mise-en-scène (such as costumes, lighting, or the visual relationships of characters to one another), or other such features. How do other features in the film combine with the actor’s portrayal (through facial expressions, gestures, body language, and so on) to create a realistic character?
  6. Several of the films we’ve seen have been based on books, including Double Indemnity, A Place in the Sun, Goodfellas, and Smoke Signals.  Write a paper in which you compare the film with the original book, paying special attention to the ways in which certain features are adapted for the screen.  Which characters or features undergo a change? How does the dialogue change? What choices have the director, screenwriter, and actors made in their interpretation of the book?


·  Prospectus. Your prospectus (50-100 words) should be typed and handed in at the beginning of class on the proposal due date. It will receive comments rather than a grade, but if you do not send one, your paper will lose 5 points (about ½) grade.

·  Paper version and electronic version. In addition to turning in a paper version, you should e-mail me ( your Word or .rtf file of the document. The paper will not be considered complete and it will not be graded until the electronic version is received.

Paper. The paper should be 7-9 typed, double-spaced pages long (about 2,500-3200 words). Use a standard (11-12 point) font and be sure to number each page. Staple the pages together. Do not use paper clips or a plastic report cover.

As before, sending me an e-version is mandatory; turning in a paper copy is optional.

Paper 2 Presentations

Length: About 5 minutes for the presentation. (No additional written work must be turned in.)

As part of your Paper 2 assignment, you'll be presenting your original research to the class during one of the presentation days at the end of the semester. You may also choose to present your research on a topic unrelated to Paper 2, but most people will probably want to combine the presentation with their Paper 2 research.

Since this is a brief, creative presentation, you should feel free to should feel free to bring in film or music clips, make a film or film trailer of your own, use PowerPoint or pictures, ask students questions, and otherwise make your presentation lively and informative for the class.

The presentation will count 5% toward your Paper 2 grade: that is, you'll receive a grade for Paper 2 (25%) and a grade for the presentation (5%) to make up the 30% of your grade that Paper 2 represents.

Your own topic. You’re welcome to choose your own topic, but you need to check it with me first.