Film introductions and discussions (30%): Students will be assigned small groups charged with introducing and discussing one film over the course of the semester. This assignment involves researching the reviews of the film and director, other works by that director, and the historical context of the film. It also involves engaging students actively in a discussion of the film. Discussions of the film will occur the week after viewing. The introduction will be the day of the viewing, and should show evidence of serious scholarly research, including a bibliography of works referenced in your research. Consider these questions in preparing yoru presentation:
- Who is the director? What else has this person made and how does this film fit into that genre?
- What evidence is there of historical research that the filmmaker conducted in the process of producing the film?
- What is the potential and limitations of the medium of film for interpreting history as portrayed through this specific film?
- What are the cinematographic virtues of the film?
- How have other reviewers critiqued this film?
To assist in the class discussion fo the film, bring to class:
- A handout for the class that may include items such as a list of discussion questions, a study guide, related web sites, and/or class exercises for discussing the film.
- An annotated bibliography of sources related to this film and its historical context (either included in the class handout or given directly to the instructor).
- Assigned readings related to that film.
- Anything else that will help in the interpretation and understanding of the film.
The best discussions will explicitly link our assigned readings to the film, and engage both critically.
Readings Précis (25%):
For each assigned reading aside from the text book, students must write a research précis to be turned in on the day that reading is assigned. Instructions for how to write a research précis are available here.
Reaction Papers (25%):
For each of the feature-length films, students will write a 3-5 page reaction paper, detailing their historical analysis of the film. The reaction paper should use the course readings to evaluate the historical content of the film, and may also include the student’s aesthetic critique of the film.
Final Paper (20%):
Students will have a final take-home exam due at the end of the final exam period as normally scheduled for this class.