Compare a pre-1950s documentary (which CAN have been viewed in class) with a post-1960s documentary (which can NOT have been viewed in class).
A. View your films closely and research them thoroughly.
B. Develop a stance, argument, or main point around your comparison of the two films.
C. Apply the historical and theoretical knowledge you have gained in class to your analysis.
D. Provide social and documentary-film historical context for the films you discuss.
E. Incorporate assigned readings, as well as material from at least two non-assigned scholarly readings drawn from the supplementary text list or elsewhere.
Additional sources are encouraged but not required.
F. Include a close reading, or textual analysis, of the films.
A. Title Page:
1. Title of essay, with main title and subtitle (with the films mentioned somewhere along the line), e.g.:
Exploration or Exploitation? Depicting the Other in Nanook and The Act of Killing
2. Name; Course number; Term B. Introduction:
1. State your topic, and what films you’ll be discussing. 2. State what your stance, argument, thesis, or main point. 3. In identifying the films, give the director and
release date; e.g., Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1922).
C. Body: 1. Proceed with your analysis, providing explanatory material and historical context for the topic and the films. 2. Incorporate your readings in a way that
furthers your argument. 3. As much as possible, but only with secure understanding, use technical terms derived from lecture and readings. 4. Try to stick to your
thesis. Extraneous information should be edited out or relegated to content footnotes. 5. All sources must be cited, whether drawn on indirectly or quoted directly,
using one of the approved citation methods (MLA, CMS, APA).
D. Conclusion: 1. Summarize your findings, avoiding redundancy. 2. End with a strong statement that gives a clear sense of what you have tried to show.
E. Works Cited page (MLA, AMA) or Bibliography (CMS) VI. Additional Pointers:
A. Make sure to number your pages—starting with the body, NOT the title page. B. Underline or put in italics all titles (films, books, etc.); articles are put in
quotes. C. When referring to individuals, give the full name the first time each is mentioned, thereafter only the second name: e.g., “Bill Nichols uses the
performative mode to analayze Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1988). I believe Nichols’ analysis is flawed, however, for the following reasons.” D. When describing a
film’s content, use the present tense: e.g., “In Roger & Me Michael Moore is more than just a participant in the action. He serves as a catalyst without which the main
action would not have occurred.” E. To indicate a film’s historical relations, use the past tense: e.g., “Roger and Me was an extraordinary commercial hit; it set a new
box office record for documentary features.” F. No plot summaries! Of course bring in story information, but only just enough to support the thematic points of your
paper, not as “padding.” G. Plagiarism, of course, is verboten! This will result in an automatic Fail for the assignment, possibly for the class, or worse!