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critical approaches essay assignment

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The final major essay assignment in this class is essentially the same as your previous essay with
one key difference: you must use a different one of the six critical approaches than you used
in your second essay.

For this assignment, choose a film (since you are using a different approach that will cover
different aspects of a film, you can use the same film as you used in your previous essay) that
you can watch and study repeatedly (i.e. one you own or can rent) and analyze it using one of the
six approaches discussed in Chapter 4 of A Short Guide to Writing About Film. Specifically, you
can analyze the film’s historical context, cultural or national character, genre, directorial style
(auteur criticism), formal elements, or ideology.

Remember, a critical analysis of a film differs in several respects from a review. The critical
analysis appeals to students or aficionados of film with background knowledge about the
medium. As a result, the critical analysis is more scholarly in tone than the review, and includes
some background research beyond casual viewing. A critical analysis has a clear thesis statement
supported with numerous details, careful analysis, and presented with a logical organization.
Since readers of critical analyses often know the plot of the film already, a plot summary is not
required, and if necessary, should be kept to a minimum. The critical analysis may concentrate
on only one portion or sequence in the film and explore it fully. Finally, since the focus of the
critical analysis is on a specific element of film composition, you should avoid overall
evaluations based on personal taste.

In essence, your essay should, through careful analysis of your chosen film using one of the six
approaches, highlight an important aspect of the film and identify to readers the importance of
this aspect. As a result, your readers should want to go back to the film and explore the ideas you
examine on their own.
Minimum requirements: Your essay should be 5-7 double spaced, typed pages (not including the
Works Cited) with one inch margins; use 12 pt. Times New Roman font; use MLA
documentation style; and include a Works Cited page. While there is no minimum required
number of sources, keep in mind that one of the most important aspects of formal writing is
establishing your credibility and expertise to your readers. One of the best methods to achieve
this credibility (aside from proper language usage) is to illustrate your knowledge and research
through in-text citations of credible/authoritative sources. In general, you should have about the
same number of outside sources as you have page numbers. Since the film you examine will be
your primary source of information, you need to cite it on the Works Cited page but you do not
need in text citations for quotes/paraphrases/summaries from the film if the source is clear from
the context.

For the due dates of your final draft (no rough draft submission is required for this essay; you
will extensively revise your essay on your own this time), consult your course schedule. Submit
your final draft as .doc or .docx files to the course D2L Dropbox

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