writing about film: the dark knight

you will always use the proper terminology for clarity, i.e., any component of mise en scene or cinematography or diegetic or non-diegetic sound. In reference to the big four, we are always looking at how the evocation of race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality is cinematically presented and what that says about the filmmaker, the time period of the production of the film, the filmmaker’s supposition of the viewing audience and the actual audience demographic.

For this assignment in particular, it is important to know whether a Hollywood studio or an independent filmmaker has produced the movie you are discussing. Initially the major studios (“the big five”) were: Warner Brothers; MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer); 20th Century Fox (originally 20th Century); RKO; and Paramount; while the minor studios (“the little three”) were Columbia Pictures (now Sony); Universal; and United Artists. The hyperlinks will give you information on the studio system as identified here.

To determine whether a film is a Hollywood movie: Go to imdb.com and type your movie title then scroll down past cast members to “Company Credits”. For example the “company” listed for Titanic is Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount which makes it eligible for this Diagnostic Paper assignment. Feel free to ask about the production of a film via the POH DB if you are not sure.

After reading the pages outlined below (which totals about six pages) and viewing the documentary below, select a movie from the “21st Century

Write a Paper on whether or not your 21st century movie fits into the structure of classical Hollywood narrative form based on information contained in the pages of the textbook outlined below under Assigned Reading and the documentary “Hollywood Style.” Does your 21st Century Hollywood filmmaker show signs of following the pattern? (THE MOVIE YOU WILL WRITE ABOUT WILL BE “THE DARK KNIGHT, 2008)

You can begin your Paper with the one paragraph plot summary. Either way your short Paper must respond to the underlined directives above. Use textbook quotes and “video viewing points” from the documentary to back up your contentions. (Two pages min.)

**NOTE THAT WIKIPEDIA GIVES EXCELLENT FILM RECAP (SYNOPSIS) IF YOU NEED TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY OF A FILM PREVIOUSLY VIEWED. This is the only instance when I allow Wikipedia use since its egalitarian researchers are not all trustworthy but it can hardly get “what happens in the film” wrong.

In vetting the textbook note that when I specify a paragraph to be read on page so and so that means you are to read the entire paragraph that may or may not continue onto the next page. Also I am not duly concerned with the book editors’ opinion on how race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality has been depicted on the screen. Rather I am interested in the facts of how the various demographics of society were presented so we can make our own informed opinions/decisions on what it means to us individually. Therefore you will notice whole sections of the textbook will be ignored (another reason for the cheaper edition). I do not have a copy of the textbook at the moment..

only read the paragraphs mentioned

The Hollywood Movie (vs. Independent Film),

page 24, first paragraph;

page 25, last paragraph.

The Style of Hollywood Cinema,

page 26

page 27, first paragraph (“Style is thus subordinated…”);

page 28, last paragraph (“But haven’t Hollywood representations…”)

The History of Hollywood: The Movies Begin

page 34, last paragraph (“In the United States, Hollywood was incorporated…”)

page 35, first two paragraphs (“When American Film…”; and “During the 1910s…”)

World War II and Postwar Film

page 39, last paragraph (“World War II substantially upended…”)

page 40, first paragraph (When World War II ended…)

page 42, first paragraph (“While Hollywood filmmakers…”)

“New” Hollywood and the Blockbuster Mentality

pages 43 and 44

VIEWING SCHEDULE – view as much of the documentary on “Hollywood Style” as you wish

= Hollywood Style documentary


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