Approximately 1500-1800 words, 12 pt. font, 1” margins
This essay is intended to give you an opportunity to work through some theoretical
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issues and problems we have been tracing in the context of a film or films of your
choice. I will expect your tightly structured and argumentative essay to proceed via the
support, discussion and interrogation of a close reading of the primary theoretical text
relevant to your topic.
This is not a research essay, so no sources other than our textbook are required.
However, your selections from our text plus the films that you examine must be included
in your bibliography. Your essay and its apparatus—including its bibliography,
references and endnotes—must be formatted according to the MLA Handbook. This is
available to you in the reference section of the library or at
The following topics are intentionally broad in order to allow you to accommodate your
particular interests; therefore you must narrow them down in order to provide your
essay with a specific and argumentative thesis statement that can be convincingly
pursued in the space available to you. I encourage you to come and meet with me to
discuss your topic.
1. Describe the role of the artist in Kracauer’s theory of cinema—how do film and
photography change that role compared to other media and aesthetic forms?
2. Tom Gunning suggests that the Cinema of Attractions is characteristic of both
early cinema and contemporary cinema—how and why? What does his idea tell
us about some contemporary film?
3. Walter Benjamin argues that films change the way we perceive and think, as well
as changing what counts as art. His context is primarily silent and Soviet cinema.
Test his ideas in relation to a contemporary film.