Write My Paper Button

WhatsApp Widget

FAMST 96 ADVANCED FILM ANALYSIS PAPER 3 PROMPT DR. McNAMARA, SPRING 2024 Substan

FAMST 96 ADVANCED FILM ANALYSIS
PAPER 3 PROMPT
DR. McNAMARA, SPRING 2024
Substantive Requirements
By Wednesday May 26, 11:45pm PST, students will submit a 5 page double-spaced essay in 12 point font that analyzes how the narration cues us to infer the temporal organization of Oppenheimer, focusing on TEMPORAL ORDER. 
In order to write your analysis, you will need to understand and, where relevant, apply the following concepts: 
Identify and understand the unique elements of the narration of Oppenheimer that allow the viewer to infer time; 
Understand that the order of events (when events happen) in the narration builds the story in a particular way;
Identify temporal cues and their role in guiding the viewer to understand temporal order throughout the narration; 
Understands how the narration orders the events of the story. What order does the narration present the story events in? 
Simultaneous story events and simultaneous presentation
Successive story events presented simultaneously 
Simultaneous story events are presented successively
Successive story events are presented successively;
Identifies and analyzes different approaches to flashbacks (recounting, enacted recounting, enactment). 
Does the narration reorder story events? If so, understands the effects of this strategy. For example:
Where the narration reorders the story order:
Can create delays in the revelation of story information, as we get the information when the characters do (in films with a restricted range of knowledge).  This can contribute to a feeling of surprise
The primacy effect can be broken or qualified, forcing “the viewer to evaluate early material in the light of new information about prior events.”
Creates gaps (e.g., temporal, spatial, causal, which can be temporary, permanent, flaunted, diffuse, suppressed) 
Can deepen depth of knowledge (i.e. through psychologically motivated flashbacks, which generate mental subjectivity)
Where the narration stays close to story order (i.e. chronological order), it: 
“Focuses the viewer’s attention on upcoming events”, which generates suspense.
Helps to form clear hypotheses
Encourages the primacy effect
Understand how to analyze formal and stylistic patterns in the temporal ordering of the narration;
Understand and discuss the way the film’s stylistic techniques (e.g., cinematography (camera movement, camera angles, shot composition); editing; mise en scène (setting / props, lighting, costumes / makeup, staging (including performance)) cue the viewer to infer temporal order in building the story;
Demonstrate that you can select and apply the concepts most relevant for this assignment’s analysis; 
Provide detailed, close analysis of examples from the film (fewer examples with more detailed analysis will help you to succeed).
Your focus should be on temporal order, but you may comment on frequency and duration if you find this helpful for your analysis. You are not required to comment on frequency and duration however. 
You do not need to include every concept discussed in Week 7, as not all will be relevant to this particular film. Focus on the concepts that you determine to be most important for your analysis of the film’s narration. Part of what you are learning to do is to determine which concepts are most relevant as you analyze the narrational strategies for a particular film. Refer to my Week 7 Lecture 1 notes for detail on concepts. Refer to my temporality handout for a guide on how to structure your own thinking about temporality in film (note this covers duration and frequency too, so focus on the order section). 
To improve your grade, go beyond what I set out in my lecture – i.e., don’t just restate my analysis in your paper. Choose a different area of the film to examine, or a different angle on the examples that I’ve analyzed. If you have questions about this, speak with your TA. 
Your paper should have a strong thesis and well-structured arguments that support the thesis:
There is a short briefing from me on Writing for Advanced Film Analysis. 
There is also helpful guidance on developing theses and structuring arguments in Ch 7 of Gocsik.   
The paper should be narrowly focused on the ideas and terms covered in Week 7’s class and readings. Your writing should be concrete and specific, focused on what is in the film.
Your paper needs to develop an argument based on your retrospective analysis of the film that is supported by evidence drawn from close reading of the film. It should not be a list of illustrative examples, or a list of terms and concepts. You should write retrospectively (with a full knowledge of the film). 
It is important to fully understand the concepts so that you can use them in ways that demonstrate you know how to use them and what they mean. But your TAs and I are the intended audience for your papers so you do not need to give specific definitions of the concepts. You also do not need to write a detailed synopsis of the plot. Recall that close analysis is more than just plot description. 
Remember: you should not give extensive ideological, symbolic, or historical readings of the film – that is a different kind of analytical activity and not what we are doing in FAMST 96. You are considering how the film does what it does. This does not involve your own evaluation of the film or your opinion about whether it is a good film or not. You should analyze the mechanisms of narration that cue the viewer to infer temporal order: how the film tells us what it does about time. 
You do not need to use secondary sources (or include a works cited list). This is your own close analysis of the film.
To prepare to write your papers, remember to: 
First, OBSERVE: watch the film carefully (more than once) and take notes of the key events, note down times for things you consider important. Focus on temporal cues. Then use this four step process: 
THINK about the film, ask: what is it trying to say – what’s the story? What’s the film’s overall form?
EXAMINE: This is achieved via close reading of the film. Go back to your notes, rewatch parts (or all) of the film. Ask: how does the narration cue us to infer the temporal structure of the film? 
ORDER OF EVENTS:
How does the narration order the events of the story? What order does the narration present the story events in?
Simultaneous story events and simultaneous presentation in the narration
Can be achieved with stylistic techniques such as: deep space composition, split screen, offscreen sound (i.e. overlapping sound from another event
Successive story events presented simultaneously in the narration
Rare, but it happens, typically when characters are watching TV / listening to radio etc that recounts past story events, so the “act of watching and the past [story] events are simultaneously represented in the narration.”
Can be achieved with stylistic techniques such as: split screen, offscreen sound (e.g., when you have pre-lap sound and the sounds from the next scene “creep up under the last few images of this one” 
Simultaneous story events are presented successively in the narration
Common in classical narrative cinema. Mainly achieved by crosscutting.  
Successive story events are presented successively in the narration 
Does the narration keep the chronological sequence of events or shuffle them around? 
If it shuffles events, does the narration use any or a combination of the following: 
Flashbacks?
Flashforwards?
Recounting?
Enactment?
Recounted enactment? 
If the narration re-orders story events, what is the effect of this strategy?
Where the narration stays close to the story order, it: 
“Focuses the viewer’s attention on upcoming events”, which generates suspense.
Helps to form clear hypotheses
Encourages the primacy effect
Where the narration reorders the story order:
Can create delays in the revelation of story information, as we get the information when the characters do (in films with a restricted range of knowledge).  This can contribute to a feeling of surprise.
The primacy effect can be broken or qualified, forcing “the viewer to evaluate early material in the light of new information about prior events.”
Creates gaps: 
Temporary
Permanent
Focused (“we may want to know exactly what happened at a specific point”)
Diffuse (“a general sense that events are out of order”)
Flaunted (“e.g., the multifarious signals for a flashback”) 
Suppressed (“e.g. the absence of such signals”) (Bordwell, 1985, 78).
Can deepen depth of knowledge (i.e. through realistically motivated flashbacks, which generate mental subjectivity).
STYLISTIC PATTERNS
What sorts of stylistic patterns does the narration use to infer / manipulate time? For example:
Editing, e.g.
Jump cuts 
Continuity editing
Overlapping editing
Fast cuts
Masking cuts 
Crosscutting (narration intercuts two or more distinct lines of action – raises questions of order but also duration)
Overlapping editing (used for emphasis)
Cutaways
Montage
Many cuts / fewer cuts. 
Repetitions
Cinematography, e.g.:
Over-cranking / under-cranking (slo-mo / time lapse)
Length of shots (long takes, short takes)
Patterns in camera distance / movement
Mise-en-scène, e.g., 
Staging (particularly movement of actors in the scene)
Lighting
Setting / props
Martin / Rutherford’s idea of drawing the viewer into the scene in an embodied way
IDENTIFY the specific concepts that describe the narrational strategies of this particular film. Refer to the lecture notes and see which concepts are relevant.  
DEVELOP your approach to how to build your own analysis (what you will write on). Formulate a thesis about the film’s representation of time and narration using the concepts, prove it with analysis, using close reading of the film to evidence it. 
Submission procedure
Submit your papers in Microsoft Word (so that your TAs can give you in-text comments). If you do not have access to Microsoft Word, contact me or your TA ASAP. Submit your paper to the Paper 3 Submission link on GauchoSpace by Wednesday May 26, 11:45pm PST. 
Learning outcomes
We will grade your papers based on:
Formulates a strong enough thesis for the argument;
Demonstrates an understanding of the concepts and terms learned in Week 7 through the effective selection and application of them to the analysis of the film;
Effectively analyzes how the narration cues us to infer the temporal structure of Oppenheimer (including the formal and stylistic patterns found throughout the film), focusing on temporal order;
Supports the analysis with appropriate evidence from close reading of the film; 
Clearly organizes ideas in a structured argument; 
Utilizes correct spelling and grammar. 
Good luck and reach out to your TAs in the first instance if you have any questions. 
Dr. McNamara

FAMST 96 ADVANCED FILM ANALYSIS PAPER 3 PROMPT DR. McNAMARA, SPRING 2024 Substan
Scroll to top