​ Final Short Paper: Thinking Theoretically About Film

Final Short Paper: Thinking Theoretically About Film

Objective: This requirement will allow you to put into conversation one of the theoretical readings in the class with a film of your own choosing. You will explore how a theoretical insight is true or applicable to a specific film that you will be analyzing by close reading three specific moments/scenes/sequences in the film.


1. Choose one from among the articles/readings in the attached file. Find the idea on cinema that is most fascinating to you. It could be the main argument of the article or a sub-argument within that article:

(a) Siegfried Kracauer, “Basic Concepts”

(b) Siegfried Kracauer, “The Establishment of Physical Existence”

(c) Cesare Zavatinni, “Some Ideas on the Cinema”

(d) Brian Henderson, “The Long Take”

(e) Christian Metz, “Some Points in the Semiotics of the Cinema”

(f) Jean-Louis Baudry, “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematic Apparatus”

(g) Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”

(h) Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas, “Toward a Third Cinema”

(i) Julio Garcia Espinosa, “For an Imperfect Cinema”

(j) Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Control Societies”

(k) Jodi Dean, “Why the Net is not a Public Sphere”

(l) Lev Manovich, “Trending: The Promises and the Challenges of Big Social Data”

2. Choose a film not shown in the class and allow the idea/insight you’ve picked up from the reading to elucidate/clarify/guide your understanding of that film.

3. Formulate or clarify to yourself the main question or argument that you will answer in your paper.

4. Look for moments/scenes/sequences in the film that you can read closely to be able to illustrate the theory that you’ve picked out. These three close readings will serve as your evidence for the main point/thesis/question that you are exploring.

What are the important parts that should be included in your paper:

1. Give an introductory paragraph that

(a) states the main argument of your paper and explains why your argument is important to explore

(b) mentions the article you have chosen and gives a short summary of the article, highlights and explains its main argument and elaborates on the idea that you have chosen

(c) provides a short summary of the film you have chosen to read, the film’s context, and explains why you have chosen the film apart from just saying that you like it or that it is referred to or mentioned in your theoretical text

2. Two to three paragraphs that will discuss your supporting evidence

(a) Your main question or argument must be supported by evidence. Your evidence will come in the form of close readings of at least three scenes or sequences. Describe each scene/sequence, discuss how the aesthetic elements set-up or work to spell out the idea or theory you are exploring.

(b) While you explain how the theory is true through your chosen film, explain how the film pushes the theory to its limit. Meaning to say, how can your main thesis or argument be counter-argued? What particular details in the film show the limits or refute the theory that you have chosen. This way, you will allow your thinking some openings and possibilities and illustrate how you are ready to accommodate readings that may challenge your point.

3. Paste a screenshot for each specific moment in the film that you are reading. Label them in ways that are informative and creative. These three screenshots must be pasted in the order that they are discussed in the paper. This should constitute the fourth page of your paper and is not counted as part of three page minimum/maximum. Links will not be accepted–you have to make clear screenshots and provide them in your paper’s last page.


A paper of only three pages , word count at least 950. requires precision of language and brevity; you will want to accomplish conveying complex thoughts while trying to be succinct. Strive to turn in a polished writing by paying attention to grammar, diction, punctuation, and style. Write coherent paragraphs by making sure that the topic sentence signals what the paragraph is talking about. Do not exceed three pages (not including the screenshot page) and strive to turn in a full four-page paper in total.


I do not require outside sources for this paper. You can make use of our class conversations, your film journal, the film of your own choosing and our class readings to enrich your discussion.


Your paper must be double-spaced, in 12 Times New Roman, with one-inch margin on all sides.


Submit your paper as PDF via Canvas. Submission beyond the deadline will not be accepted.

What does it take to get an A for this requirement?

1. Ideas are complex, nuanced, and well-developed

2. All parts of the prompt are addressed

2. Analysis exhibits strong grasp of film material

3. Organization makes the central idea(s) and details very clear

4. Order is strong and moves the reader through the writing

5. Smooth, effective transitions

6. Paragraphs are effectively organized around main points

7. Grammar is excellent

8. Sentences are clear and precise

9. Writing is highly polished

10. Paper meets the required length

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