Choose ONE of the following:FILM REVIEW of a new theatrical release (in other words, playing currently in a theater).ANALYSIS OF ONE CINEMATIC ELEMENT (such as theme; dramatic structure; point of view; color; art design; costuming; camerawork; lighting; editing; or sound design) in any film screened outside of class. The feature film can be from any country and time period. This should be your analysis, not information gathered from a DVD commentary track or research.ANALYSIS OF AN AMERICAN TELEVISION COMMERCIAL produced for the national market in 2019. Do not analyze a PSA (Public Service Announcement) or movie trailer.4-6pagesAll the requirements are in the document
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FILM/TV 1: INTRODUCTION TO CINEMATIC ARTS
De Anza College
Susan Tavernetti, instructor
WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT GUIDELINES
Choose ONE of the following:
• FILM REVIEW of a new theatrical release (in other words, playing currently in a theater).
ANALYSIS OF ONE CINEMATIC ELEMENT (such as theme; dramatic structure; point of
view; color; art design; costuming; camerawork; lighting; editing; or sound design) in a film
screened outside of class. This should be your analysis, not information gathered from
a DVD commentary track or research.
ANALYSIS OF AN AMERICAN TELEVISION COMMERCIAL produced for the national
market in 2019. Do not analyze a PSA (Public Service Announcement) or movie trailer.
ROUGH DRAFT (optional): Submit a hard copy to me before or on MARCH 8, 2019.
NOTE: Resubmission date determined by instructor to allow for revisions; those who submit
rough drafts may have a different final due date than the rest of the class.
FINAL DRAFT: MARCH 15, 2019
Papers submitted after this date will receive a grade penalty: 10 points will be deducted for each
class meeting that the assignment is late (for example, papers turned in after March 15 will be
docked 10 points; papers submitted after March 22 will be penalized 20 points).
• The 4-6-page assignment must be typed and double spaced. Leave 1-inch margins all
around the text of your paper.
Submit TWO copies by the due date:
1. Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT), Hangul
(HWP), Google Docs or plain text file to Canvas. If you do not submit your file to Canvas,
you will receive 0 points.
2. Hard copy directly to me. Email attachments or papers left in my faculty mailbox will not
Use your critical thinking skills. The purpose of this assignment is to encourage you to
express your ideas, not to do research and incorporate another person’s ideas about the
film or commercial into your paper.
De Anza College defines plagiarism as “presenting the work of others without
crediting them.” Plagiarism will result in an “F” on the assignment.
If you do research, such as listening to a DVD commentary track, endnotes or footnotes and a
bibliography of source materials are required. Read “What is plagiarism?”:
http://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism. Also read “What Is Citation?”:
http://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-citation. Follow the in-text citation style of MLA (Modern
Language Association): https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ . Also adhere to the
MLA guidelines for the Works Cited page: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/05/ .
GRADING: 100 points
Content: 50 points
Writing style: 50 points (thesis, spelling/grammar, sentence structure, paragraph
development, supporting evidence)
WRITING & READING CENTER (WRC) offers help, inspiration and resources.
WHERE: Advanced Technology Center (ATC), Room 309 (AT309)
DROP-IN HOURS: Check current schedule at www.deanza.edu/studentsuccess/wrc/
The review should give the reader key information about the film, as well as make and support a
judgment about the movie’s value. Incorporate the following into your review: director and style,
genre, theme, screenwriter, cinematographer, cast, among others.
• Select any film playing during its first theatrical run (in other words, playing currently).
• Read professional reviews of films other than the one you are reviewing.
• Take detailed, accurate notes while watching the film. See the film again, if needed.
• Avoid spoilers that give away major plot points or the ending.
• Avoid phrases like “I believe” or “I think.”
• Analyze the key thematic and formal elements of the movie, and place the film in a larger
context. Does it address controversial issues or profound universal truths? Contribute to the
evolution of a genre? Introduce innovative techniques? Break new ground in some way?
ANALYSIS OF ONE CINEMATIC ELEMENT
The analytical paper should concentrate on a single cinematic element, and the paper should
cover this aspect of the film in depth. Your focus may be ONE narrative element (theme; point of
view; character; dramatic structure; or archetypal patterns), ONE visual element (camerawork;
lighting design; mise en scène; set design; or editing) or ONE aural element (musical score; or
sound effects). Assume the reader has seen or is at least familiar with the film under discussion.
Remind the reader of key themes and elements of the plot, but do not provide a lengthy retelling
of the story.
If you have questions about your focus, please contact me.
Recommended texts on reserve at the De Anza College Library:
Moscowitz, John E. Critical Approaches to Writing About Film. 2nd ed. Pearson Custom
Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing About Film. 9th edition. New York: Pearson, 2014.
TELEVISION COMMERCIAL ANALYSIS
Advertisers know very well just how powerful an ad can be. Ad agencies regularly spend
millions of dollars on market research of audience preferences and responses to visual images,
and companies spend more than $140 billion a year on U.S. advertising campaigns that cater to
those preferences. Successful campaigns generate billions in return. Therefore, agencies
design print, radio, television and Internet ads to influence their target group to buy a specific
product. All effective ads must appeal in some way to a consumer’s personal desires and to
his/her response to the myths, values and traditional assumptions of the culture.
• Select an American television commercial produced in 2019 for the national market (no
regional or local commercials, public service announcements or movie trailers).
Cite the URL on the top right corner of your first page.
Describe the narrative in a paragraph or discuss the mood, if no plot exists. Include running
time. Does the commercial have a 3-act structure?
GRADING: 100 points
Analysis of the commercial’s content: 50 points (Theme/message/mood: 20 points;
Form/technique/language: 15 points; Ideology: 15 points)
Writing style: 50 points (thesis, spelling/grammar, sentence structure, paragraph
development, supporting evidence)
• Theme/message/mood: Commercials try to sell a product. Often the dialogue or voice-over
narration communicates the message.
Example: “Come in from the cold for Cream of Wheat.” This commercial promises to change
the spectator-buyer’s uncomfortable state (cold; alone; hungry) into a pleasurable one
(warm; loved; nurtured and nourished).
Form/technique/language: How does the commercial convey the content?
Consider the narrative elements of character, setting, dialogue, dramatic structure, symbols
Consider the image, including camerawork and mise en scène: Hand-held camera to
convey honesty or immediacy? Movement for excitement? Stationary camera for realism or
stability? Close-up shots for intimacy? High-angle shots for vulnerability? Low-angle shots
for significance or power? Slow motion to capture beauty or convey nostalgia? Telephoto
lens to flatten the image or extreme wide-angle lens to distort it? Filters to eliminate facial
wrinkles or heighten certain colors? Color or B/W? High or low-key lighting? Overexposed,
Consider the editing: Continuity editing for realism? MTV-like montage for fast pace or
confusion? Slow dissolves for a more languid, lyrical mood? Important juxtapositions?
Consider the sound design: Dialogue? Music? Effects? Loud sounds to grab the spectator’s
attention? Dentist drills or “painful” noises?
Example: The Cream of Wheat commercial uses invisible camerawork and editing techniques
that reinforce the realism of the image. The commercial begins with an establishing long shot of
a house blanketed in winter snow. The ad intercuts footage of a man walking outdoors in the
cold with the cozy interior of the house (with a golden retriever framed in the window and hot
cereal cooking on the stove, its steam recalling the man’s breath outdoors and the image of
steam rising from a bowl on the product’s package). The music is nostalgic, and the voice-over
narration coaxes the spectator to “come out of the cold,” repeating the words “cold” and “into the
warmth.” The color design reinforces the packaging colors of the product: white, blue, red and
Ideology: What belief systems or values underlie the ad? Are they personal, cultural and/or
political? Refer to the next page based on John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (BBC television
series and Penguin Book), Barsam and Monahan’s Looking at Movies or Kasdan and
Tavernetti’s The Critical Eye: An Introduction to Looking at Movies.
Example: The Cream of Wheat commercial proposes to transform the spectator-buyer from
“cold” to “warm,” if s/he buys and eats the cereal. The ad promises to remove her/him from an
uncomfortable, cold situation into a warm, homey one. The outdoor images are romantic and
natural: the purity of the snow reinforces the “No Salt or Sugar Added” purity of the product as
indicated on the package. The indoor images evoke a Norman Rockwell painting. This nostalgic
and traditional underpinning recalls the sentiment on the package that boasts, “Hot Cereal since
it was first introduced almost 100 years ago.” These elements address personal concerns,
playing on the personal anxiety of being cold and promising a state of warmth, nice home, and
beloved dog and wife awaiting one’s return. They also reinforce the product’s branding for easy
identification in the marketplace.
The middle-aged Caucasian man comes home to the Caucasian wife preparing a warm meal for
him in a middle-class house. These choices raise issues of gender, ethnicity, class and culture.
How does the representation of a woman cooking and waiting for her spouse to return reinforce
gender roles? How are cultural issues of middle class, heterosexuality and family-oriented life
promoted as the American way? How do the casting and narrative choices reinforce stereotypes
and reflect mainstream American values?
All commercials are political, supporting our capitalist system. As Berger states in Ways of
Seeing (149-155), “Publicity adds up to a kind of philosophical system. It explains everything in
its own terms. It interprets the world . . . The contrast between publicity’s interpretation of the
world and the world’s actual condition is a very stark one . . . Publicity exerts an enormous
influence and is a political phenomenon of great importance. But its offer is as narrow as its
references are wide. It recognizes nothing except the power to acquire. All other human
faculties or needs are made subsidiary to this power. All hopes are gathered together, made
homogeneous, simplified, so that they become the intense yet vague, magical yet repeatable
promise offered in every purchase . . .”
Berger explains that publicity “proposes to each of us that we transform ourselves, or our lives,
by buying something more. This more, it proposes, will make us in some way richer—even
though we will be poorer by having spent money . . . Publicity is always about the future buyer.
It offers him an image of himself made glamorous by the product or opportunity it is trying to sell
. . . Its promise is not of pleasure but of happiness: happiness as judged from the outside of
Berger notes that publicity and painting frequently use the following visual language:
Gestures of models and mythological figures
Romantic use of nature (leaves, trees, water) to create a place where innocence can be
Exotic and nostalgic attraction of the Mediterranean
Poses denoting stereotypes in women: serene mother (Madonna), freewheeling
secretary (actress, king’s mistress), perfect hostess (spectator-owner’s wife), sex object
(Venus, nymph surprised), etc.
Special sexual emphasis given to women’s legs
Materials particularly used to indicate luxury: engraved metal, furs, polished leather
Gestures and embraces of lovers, arranged frontally for the benefit of the spectator
The sea, offering new life
Physical stance of men conveying wealth and virility
Equation of drinking and success
Man as knight (horseman), now depicted as a motorist
The spectator-buyer’s traditional education in history, mythology, poetry and popular culture can
be used in the manufacturing of glamour. Moreover, all publicity works upon anxiety and
increasingly uses sexuality to sell any product or service.
“Publicity principally addressed to the working class tends to promise a personal transformation
through the function of the particular product it is selling (Cinderella); middle-class publicity
promises a transformation of relationships through a general atmosphere created by an
ensemble of products” (Berger 145).
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