Short Essay:

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.

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