For this Assignment you will be analyzing the scene of Tommy devito being “Made” from the movie the goodfellas and the impact overall.
The guidelines are below.
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Respond to the following prompt in a well-organized, persuasive essay. It should be 7-9 pages long (at least 2,300 words), typed, double-spaced, and also include a Works Cited page. Be sure to reread your paper before you turn it in. Check for clarity, spelling, and grammar. The paper should reference specific readings assigned for the class, as outlined below. Include a works cited page.
For your term paper, complete a stylistic analysis and interpretation of a scene. Select one scene of three to five minutes in length from one of the films selected during the full course. You can pick any film listed in any of the Units. Use the following questions to assist you:
- Complete a shot breakdown chart of the scene you have selected. Below is a sample (at least 30 shots).
- Provide background information on the film you have selected. You will need to do some research for this. Who is the director? When and where was this film made? Is it related to a film movement? What kind of film is this: a documentary, experimental film, fictional narrative film? What genre(s) might this film fall into? Provide any other relevant information about this film?
- Thesis statement: This is your argument. The thesis statement should explain the relevance of the scene you have selected. How does it connect with the rest of the film and its narrative? What is the importance of the scene and its relation to other scenes? Is it a major turning point? How does the scene support the film’s theme(s)?
- Part 1:
- Write a brief description of the selected scene.
- Explain what is so important about the succession of shots that comprises the scene? Analyze (don’t just describe) the shots’ mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, acting, and sound. How do these stylistic elements work together to create emotional and intellectual effects?
- Discuss how the shots work together and separately:
- How is meaning created and imparted to the viewer?
- How do the shots convey information and characterization?
- Why might these particular shots have been used? What gives them impact?
- How is meaning built up in the scene?
- Part 2:
- How does this scene relate to other scenes; think of the form of the film. How does the scene relate to the theme you have selected to focus on?
- How does the scene relate to the form of the film? Is it part of a repetitive pattern? Part of the development of the film? Explain the scenes relation to the theme created through the form.
- How does the scene relate to the Narrative? Is there a 3-act structure? How does it relate to the character goals? Does this film follow a Classical Hollywood Narrative? Where does your scene fit into this narrative?
- What is the film’s explicit meaning? What is the film’s implicit meaning?
- And, lastly return to your thesis by broadening your scene analysis to the rest of the film. Explain the significance of analyzing this one scene.
- Explain why analyzing this one scene is important in the interpretation and analysis of the film as a whole.
- Discuss the plot in detail. Your reader has already seen the film you are writing about;
- Just list and describe the shots;
- Use extensive quotations or lines of dialogue for your analysis;
- Repeat yourself.
Be sure to:
- Use correct spelling, grammar, and syntax;
- Describe and analyze the scene in detail;
- Build analysis through use of detail;
- Use terms from the textbook so as to show you understand them;
- Include an original title for your paper, and to number each page;
- Use the present tense and use characters’ (not actors’) names in your paper;
Note: for your analysis, it is crucial that you watch the film in its original aspect ratio (letterbox). Do not watch a film in Full Screen unless that is the aspect ratio the film was distributed as. Some of these films are available at Learning Resource Center. You may select a different film, but you will need to have the film approved.
In addition to the 7-9 page paper (at least 2,300 words), provide a shot breakdown for the scene you have selected to analyze – in list, column, or table form – that includes the following information. You can create this as a list (look below) or as a table.
- Shot number (you will assign each shot a number).
- Mise-en-scene: Describe the setting, the props, the lighting, the costumes, etc.
- Cinematography: camera distance (e.g. LS [long shot], MS [medium shot], CU [closeup]….). Is the camera moving or is it stable? Is the lens wide or long?
- Editing: describe the editing? Is it following a classical Hollywood structure? Is it fast-paced?
- Acting and dialogue: is the acting convincing? Does the diagloue provide insight into the themes?
- Sounds, Music, Narration and/or Titles: Describe the diegetic and non-diegetic elements of the film.
Editing for a series of shots
Acting and dialogue
Sounds, Music, and Titles
A big globe lamp hanging from the ceiling, It cannot be the only lamp because Theo’s hands and face are lit. Still a messy environment with a lot of small items and books. Whisky bottles close to the camera. Worn clothes, looks old even though this is the future.
The distance to Theo is not that long (MS), the distance to the others are longer (LS). Theo is in focus, the others are more blurry. This is the other part of the long take, it is actually 1 min 45 sec but I cut it into two.
You can feel that it is dark and evening. Feels like it is a cold night and that it is warm in the house. The relationship is improved between Jasper and the girls when they are having a conversation. It is well connected and the conversations are coherent to each other; there are no cuts since this is a long take.
Theo is quite and listening to what Jasper is talking about. The pregnant woman is talking far away from the camera but all conversations are very clear and it sounds like they are taking place right next to the camera
Calm depressing music in the background, Jasper is talking about Faith v. Chance.
If you have any questions about the topic and/or your in-progress paper, do not hesitate to email me your concerns.
Writing a paper involves three stages. All three are necessary to writing a paper that is original, clear, and cogently argued. This guideline will be helpful in analyzing your selected scene.
Select a topic: In selecting the films and topics for your paper, realize that you will produce a much better paper if you write about films that you are interested in.
Watch the film or films you have selected several times, taking notes: If you find it difficult to unravel the film’s meaning, you might pay particular attention to the opening and closing sequences. Often beginnings and endings provide clues to the themes in a film. Think about camera movement and framing, editing, mise-en-scene, sound, point-of-view shots, narrative structure, etc. How do they contribute to our understanding of the characters or narrative development? How is the scene you have selected related to the overall theme?
Take stock of your ideas: Go over your notes, making a list of the ideas that seem particularly useful. Do any sequences stand out with regard to the topic you are writing on? Are there two or more sequences that are markedly similar to one another that you might compare? Think about interesting juxtapositions and metaphors or striking stylistic elements (do you notice a pattern of unusual point-of-view shots, montages, or camera angles?) How do these elements relate to the themes you plan to discuss? For example, I’ve been asked to write a paper about gender in Gilda, and I’ve noticed that there are a lot of striking point-of-view shots in the film. I will make a list of the point-of-view shots I’ve noticed then think about who was doing the looking and what it is they saw, asking myself if there were any patterns based on the character’s gender. Then begin interpreting that pattern.
Formulate an argument: Your argument should allow you to tie together your observations and your research. It should be suited to the length of the paper; don’t make statements that you can’t support in the amount of space you have to write the paper or with the information you have at hand. Your argument should be based on your research and your analysis of the scene you have selected, not an evaluation of it. Do not write a film review (don’t say whether the film is good or bad).
Write an outline: Even if you don’t stick to it, it is helpful to have a plan before you start to write. The outline should include your thesis statement and the points you will make to support your thesis. Each point should be supported by examples from the film or films you are discussing. It probably won’t be possible for you to include all of your observations about the film in your paper. Select the examples that best support your argument.
Don’t use anything larger than 12-point font. Use one-inch margins.
Your writing must be your own and it must be original: Plagiarism will result in disciplinary action by the Dean of Students. You must indicate your sources, including readings, lectures, and discussions from this or other classes (see below for the form your citations should take). If your paper relies on extensive knowledge of a subject that you have gained outside of this class, you must discuss it with me. If you want to write on the same topic as you are writing on for another class, you must speak to me and the other professor about it. If you would like to revise a paper you have already written, you must speak to me about it. You are encouraged to discuss your ideas with other students, but your work must be your own.
Citations: You are expected to do research for your paper, so follow MLA style for all your citations. Extensive quotes, of three lines or more, should be indented and single-spaced. You should include your source whether you use direct quotes or summarize an argument. This includes information from the course reader, lectures, and discussions. Citations should include the author’s last name in parentheses followed by the page number. If you provide the author’s name in the text, you need only include the page number. At the end of the paper, you will need to include a list of works cited.
Click here (Links to an external site.) for more information on MLA format.
“Since film noir is as much a style as it is a genre, the manner in which the wild passion of the fugitives is portrayed is more significant than the plot points which keep them on the run” (Silver and Brookover 262).
Janey Place and Lowell Peterson describe the requirement of depth of field in film noir:
It was essential in many close or medium shots that focus be carried into the background so that all objects and characters in the frame be in sharp focus, giving equal weight to each. The world of the film is this made a closed universe, with each character seen as just another facet of an unheeding environment that will exist unchanged long after his death; and the interaction between man and the forces represented by noir environment is always clearly visible (67).
Edelman, Lee. “Plasticity, paternity, perversity: Freud’s ‘Falcon,’ Huston’s ‘Freud.’” American Imago v51.n1 (Spring 1994): pp. 69(36).
Silver, Alan and Linda Brookover. “What is This Thing Called Noir?” Alain Silver and James Ursini, eds. Film Noir Reader, 6th edition. New York: Limelight Editions, 2001: 243-260
Naremore, James. More Than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
Click here (Links to an external site.) for more information on creating a Word Cited page.
Avoid common errors: Two of the most common errors that students make when writing about film are 1) focusing exclusively on characters and narrative to the point of neglecting the manner in which meaning is conveyed filmicly (i.e. through editing, camera movement, sound, mise-en-scene, etc.) and 2) describing the film rather than formulating an argument about it. It isn’t enough simply to identify the point-of-view shots in a film. You need to think about how they function, that is, what effect they have, what meaning they may have.
Support your argument with examples from the film: Examples might include close readings of specific sequences or analyses of the manner in which certain elements recur throughout a film. For instance, an essay on the representation of women in Gilda might include a close analysis of the opening sequence as well as describing how point-of-view shots function throughout the film.
Correctly identify characters and film titles: The first time you refer to a film, include the director and year in which the film was released, e.g. Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947). Subsequent references to the film need only give the title, which should always be underlined. The first time you refer to a character, you may include the actor’s name in parentheses, e.g. Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum). But after that, use only the character’s name. (Jeff Bailey searches for Kathie Moffat. Robert Mitchum does not look for Janet Greer.) It’s terribly distracting, not to mention confusing, to read a paper in which characters are misidentified. If you can’t remember a character’s name or aren’t sure of the spelling, look it up. The Internet Movie Database (http://us.imdb.com) includes this information.
Be sure to read your paper carefully! It’s a good idea to ask a tutor or someone else to read the paper for you. Double-check the following:
Content: Have you made any assertions that are not supported with examples from the film? Have you made any sweeping generalizations that are beyond the scope of your paper? Eliminate evaluative statements (e.g. “Fritz Lang is a great director.” “Double Indemnity is an excellent film.”)
Organization: Have you presented your evidence in the best possible way? Does your introduction clearly state the argument? Do your paragraphs flow from one to the next, or are they disjointed and unrelated? Does each paragraph contribute to your paper’s thesis? The topic of each paragraph should be clearly stated in the first sentence or two and should be supported with specific examples from the film. Any information that does not directly relate to your paper’s argument should be confined to footnotes or endnotes, or eliminated altogether.
Style: Have you used inappropriate slang or colloquialisms? Are your verb tenses consistent? (Actions in a film should be described in the present tense, historical events in the past tense: Marion Crane is the only guest at the Bates motel. Many motels lost business when the interstate highways were built.) Have you chosen the best possible words to describe scenes in the films and to express your points? Are you certain of the meanings of the words you are using? Do you over-use particular words and phrases?
Spelling and Grammar: You will be marked down for errors in spelling and grammar. Most word processing programs will check your spelling and grammar for you. If you are uncertain about English grammar, arrange to meet with a writing tutor.