movie list: pick one
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Give Me Liberty
Ham on Rye
To what degree your writing on film is intelligent, thoughtful, referential, scholarly, creative and/or original is up to you but your grade will be largely determined by these considerations (as well as by your entries punctual posting on Fridays). Certainly, using the ideas we cover in class will be helpful. Criticism in these terms does not suggest a mere statement of preference, or a thumbs-up-or-down judgment, but a thorough and insightful dissection of the film in question, taking as many factors into consideration as possible. Read the film what are its intentions, its metaphoric meanings, its vibe, its texture, its impact, its role as a cultural statement made when and where it was made? Your main concerns are: clarity, articulation of your point of view, and keeping your prose interesting, so at least you, as a reader, would not be bored with it and might want to keep reading to the end. Please keep in mind that your readers may not know your personally, and dont care how you feel, or how tired you were, or what kind of movies you prefer. Do not write about yourself, and DO NOT use personal pronouns: I, me, my. You should make your position understandable and persuasive and interesting to perfect strangers, all of whom we will presume have graduated high school.
My advice generally in writing criticism is to skip the obvious statement; think about what the films thrust is (whether or not it seems to be intentional); and keep thinking about films as objects with aesthetic values that is, texts not simply as stories and certainly not simply as momentary experiences youve had. Of course, reading thoughtful film criticism helps; I would encourage everyone to hunt down work online by J. Hoberman, Chuck Stephens, A.O. Scott, Scott Tobias, Andrew OHehir, Andrew Sarris, Geoffrey OBrien, David Thomson, Violet Lucca, Dennis Lim, Mark Asch, J.R. Jones, Nick Pinkerton, Howard Hampton, Melissa Anderson, Jonathan Rosenbaum (try to overlook his first-person narcissism), and Godfrey Cheshire.
The critiques require no sources, quotes or references they ARE NOT research papers, but critiques. You are the critic, so critique. I dont want to read about the films production history or what Roger Ebert thought of it.

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