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ENG 2300, Section 8641: Film Analysis
Class (Turlington 2334): MWF period 3

Screening (Turlington 2334): M periods 9-11

Instructor: Lauren Pilcher


Office: Turlington 4325

Office Hours: W 10:30-11:30 am, F 10:30-11:30 am, & by appointment

ENG 2300 will teach you how to view, think about, discuss, and write about films in a scholarly context. Films take many forms and are shaped by a wide range of cultural conditions and perspectives. In this course, you will learn how to analyze films and their forms by examining how moving images communicate to audiences in a variety of cinematic contexts.

Early in the course, you will learn the vocabulary needed to dissect the parts at work and techniques utilized in individual films. You will then practice applying these terms as you use them to describe and interpret particular shots and sequences in both class discussion and written assignments. Later in the semester, you will begin to think, research, and write about how the form of a particular film reflects larger cultural conditions and perspectives.

Corrigan, Timothy, and Patricia White. The Film Experience, 3rd Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012.
Corrigan, Timothy. Short Guide to Writing About Film, 8th Edition. Boston: Pearson, 2012.
Yale Film Analysis site.

This course will teach you . . .

  • the vocabulary needed to understand how a film looks, moves, and sounds.

  • to reflect on the techniques used in a particular film and what they might mean.

  • to analyze how a particular film, and its form, reflects specific cultural situations, including but not limited to: production value and/or style; genre; representations of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc.; representations of particular spaces (for ex: cities, homes/domestic spaces, natural landscapes, etc.); nationality; and historical period.

  • to write analytically and argumentatively about film using the appropriate terms.

This is a General Education course providing learning outcomes listed in further detail in the Undergraduate Catalog. For more information, see: requirement.aspx#learning

Weekly Writing & participation
You will be asked to write 1-2 paragraphs on the assigned film and readings at some point during each week. These short responses MUST be written before class. For full credit, they should reflect ample time spent with the materials and your ideas. In addition, participation and attentiveness throughout the class period will be observed.
Project 1: Single Shot Analysis (500 words)
To begin practicing your analytical skills, you will compose a brief paper analyzing a single shot from one of our course films. Paying close attention to matters of editing (prior to and following the shot), mise-en-scène, and duration, you will make a claim about the significance of your chosen shot. You may speak to how the film affects you as a spectator, but you should focus on interpreting how the formal elements of the shot communicate an idea, theme, tension, question, or particular perspective.
Project 2: Sequence Analysis (1000 words)

Now that you can analyze shots, you will apply your analytical skills to an entire sequence. For this assignment, you will select a sequence from either one of the course films or an outside film that I approve and make an argument about its significance by again interpreting formal choices. To successfully complete this assignment, you will make a claim about the significance of your chosen sequence (think about themes, ideas, and tensions throughout the entire film) and provide close analysis of the sequence's editing, framing, sound, pace, and placement within the film. Well-developed assignments will also be attentive to the larger cultural conditions and perspectives influencing both the sequence and the film. (Note: It would be wise to select a sequence from the film that you hope to use for the final two projects, but you will not be penalized if you use differing films in later work).

Project 3: Source Review (1500 words)

Because the final project of the course asks you to do research, this project you will teach you key skills related to researching, reading, and writing about sources. For this assignment, you will first identify an extra-filmic context that affects the form of the film you have chosen to work with for the final project (for example: race relations in Django Unchained (2012). You will then locate 5-8 scholarly sources that provide information/make claims about this context and/or your film. You may research the director of the film, its production value and/or theatrical reception, a genre it utilizes, the historical period in which it was produced or the time period it depicts, its race, gender, class, nationality, or sexuality politics, or any other cultural aspect working beyond the film text itself that may help you to develop an argument for the final paper. You will then write a review of your research, beginning with 1-2 paragraphs that explain the context you have chosen to focus on and its relation to your film. The rest of the assignment should summarize how each source you found contributes to your knowledge of this context and to your interpretation-in-progress of the film.

Project 4: Film Analysis + Research (3000 words)
For this final assignment, you will develop an argument about how your film’s form reflects and/or is shaped by a specific cultural context, such as production & exhibition details, genre conventions, history, ideology, politics, or any other aspect you find pertinent to the film's content. Your goal here is to locate where and how the film speaks to larger conversations, events, and movements taking place in the world via precise close analyses of its formal elements. This project, while it builds upon earlier assignments, MUST provide a clear and specific argument that is validated throughout by a precise and developed analysis of the film's visual elements. 
Grades will be evaluated on a 1000-point scale:
A 930-1000 4.0

A- 900-929 3.67

B+ 870-899 3.33

B 830-869 3.0

B- 800-829 2.67

C+ 770-799 2.33

C 730-769 2.0

C- 700-729 1.67

D+ 670-699 1.33

D 630-669 1.0

D- 600-629 0.67

E 0-599 0.00

Your final grade will consist of the following:
Weekly Writing & participation 100 pts/10%

Single Shot Analysis (500 words) 120 pts/12%

Sequence Analysis (1,000 words) 170 pts/17%

Source Review (1,500 words) 250 pts/25%

Film Analysis + Research (3,000 words) 350 pts/35%
Total 1000 pts/100%
Students may appeal a final grade by filling out a form available from Carla Blount, Program Assistant. Grade appeals may result in a higher, unchanged, or lower final grade.
*** NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED. I will consider requests for due date extensions, but they must be made at least 48 hours in advance of the assignment’s original due date.
*** Each student will be allowed to rewrite one major project should he/she receive a grade lower than a B-. In order to do so though, you must meet with me outside of class to discuss your revision strategy. Please note that while rewriting a paper will not result in a lower grade, it does not necessarily guarantee an improvement on your score.

  • If any assignment illustrates complete disregard for spelling, grammar, citations, or does not meet the word count requirement, it will be failed.

  • Grading criteria change depending on the specific assignment. Please consult assignment sheets, the syllabus, and class instructions for this information.

  • Each assignment is designed to build on previous assignments as a way to move you toward a well-developed Film Analysis + Research at the conclusion of the semester. Investing in each assignment is crucial to both your grade and your progress throughout the course.

  • Revision is a must. Ideas do not develop over night, and this is why each of the assignments builds upon one another. In order to make the most of each assignment, it is important to continually rework your writing as I advise you and as you see fit. This includes both your larger ideas (argument/analytical claim or point) and your sentence-level constructions.

  • This course is not about following a checklist or a formula for what I, the instructor, want. Students who show personal investment in the material and a dedication to their own growth will succeed.


  • If you miss more than 6 class periods, you will fail the course. This includes the screening periods.

  • Each absence beyond 3 will lower your final grade by half a letter.

  • 3 times late to class equals 1 absence.

  • Only absences involving religious holidays or university-sponsored events, such as athletics or band, are exempt. Absences for family emergencies or short-term illnesses will count toward your 6 allowed absences. Illnesses severe enough to require absences over 3 days will be excused with proper documentation.

  • When absent from class, it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of all due dates and to hand assignments in on time. In-class activities and quizzes may not be made-up unless the absence is exempt.

Insightful film analysis requires active viewing. You should be actively engaged during our screening periods. Talking is discouraged, and use of cell-phones is NOT PERMITTED. Cell phone use will result in being marked absent for the period.
You are expected to take notes during each screening. Your notes will be your launching point and guide for class discussion, response essays, and analyses.
Because the class is discussion-based whenever possible, conflicting viewpoints may often arise. Please keep in mind that students come from diverse cultural, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Some of the films and texts we will discuss and write about engage controversial topics and opinions, sometimes representing powerful images or sounds of violence, hetero- and homosexuality, explicit language, and other adult themes like depression. If you anticipate that you may be uncomfortable watching, discussing, or writing about this material critically in a professional scholarly context, then you may reconsider taking this course. Diverse student backgrounds combined with provocative texts require that you be respectful toward others.
All cell phones and other hand-held devices must be set to silent ring during class. This is a basic courtesy that I expect of you, consistent with most professional environments. Again, cell phone use will result in being marked absent for the period.
The best way to contact me is via email. Please allow at least 48 hours for me to respond to all requests/questions/inquiries by email. If you would like to meet face-to-face, you can visit me during office hours or contact me to schedule an appointment time that works for best for both of us.

Unless stated otherwise, all assignments should be submitted in accordance with MLA format, typed in Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, 1” margins on all sides, name/instructor’s name/course/date in upper left corner of first page, last name and page number located in top right of every page. Electronic copies of papers must be submitted via the “Assignments” page on the E-learning Canvas site by the assigned due date.

Plagiarism is a violation of the Student Honor Code. All acts of plagiarism will result in a score of zero for the assignment, a formal report to the Dean of Students, and likely failure of the course. In order to avoid the potential for plagiarism, cite all sources that you use for an assignment; paraphrasing without proper citation constitutes plagiarism. You should never copy and paste something from the Internet without also giving a proper citation for that material. Ultimately, the consequences do not outweigh the benefits.
All students must abide by the Student Honor Code. For more information about academic honesty, including definitions of plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration, see:
The Disability Resource Center in the Dean of Students Office provides information and support regarding accommodations for students with disabilities.
For more information, see:
UF provides an educational and working environment that is free from sex discrimination and sexual harassment for its students, staff, and faculty.
For more about UF policies regarding harassment, see:

*The schedule is subject to change at my discretion.
WEEK 1 (8/25 - 8/29)

M — [CLASS] Course Overview and Introductions

[SCREENING] Citizen Kane (1941, dir. Orson Welles)

W — What Exactly is Film Studies?


  1. Read Corrigan & White, Introduction p. 5-17 & p. 56-57

  2. Bring Corrigan & White textbook to class for group work on Ch.1

F – There’s No Film Studies Without Film History/ies: Situating Citizen Kane

Due: Corrigan & White, Ch. 10 p. 355-397

WEEK 2 (9/1 - 9/5)

M – NO CLASS (Labor Day)

*** PLEASE SCREEN The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene) on your own before class on Wednesday. It is available for rent on Amazon Instant Video.

W – The Parts, aka Form, of a Film

(*Assignment #1 will be assigned)


  1. Read Short Guide to Writing About Film Ch. 3

  2. Browse the sections listed and READ the entirety of the section titled “Basic Terms.”

F — Analyzing Caligari: Form and Historical Context


  1. Read Stefan Andriopoulos (2009), “Suggestion, Hypnosis, and Crime: Robert Weine’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)” (Available on e-learning. Locate the Files tab and click on the folder for this week).

  2. In 3-4 paragraphs, complete these two prompts:

    • Using at least one of the formal components of a film that we discussed on Wednesday (mise-en-scene, editing, cinematography, and sound), describe IN DETAIL a particular image or technique in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari that differs from a typical, contemporary movie experience. Explain, using examples from the film, how the image or technique varies from what you usually see in movies. Also, be sure to explain how you reacted to the visual.

    • Locate a section in “Suggestion, Hypnosis, and Crime …” where Andriopoulos analyzes an image or technique in the film. Briefly describe the part of the film he examines, tell me which formal aspect it is (is it mise-en-scene, editing, cinematography, or sound?), and explain how he interprets this visual.

WEEK 3 (9/8 - 9/12)

M – [CLASS] What is Editing?


  1. Corrigan & White, Ch. 5 p. 133-175

  2. Read the section on Editing available at

[SCREENING] Bonnie and Clyde (1967, dir. Arthur Penn)

W — Locating Editing Techniques in Bonnie and Clyde


  1. Read Lester D. Friedman (2000), excerpt from Bonnie and Clyde BFI Film Guide (available on e-learning).

  2. In a paragraph, describe an aspect of editing that you noticed while watching Bonnie and Clyde. Explain how this formal aspect reflects a theme within the film and/or the cultural context surrounding the film (such as the New Hollywood movement or the gender and/or sexual politics of the 1960s).

FAnalyzing Bonnie and Clyde: New Hollywood, the Sexual Revolution, and The French New Wave


1) Read Matthew Bernstein (2000), “Perfecting the New Gangster: Writing Bonnie and Clyde” (available on e-learning).

WEEK 4 (9/15 - 9/19)

M – [CLASS] What is Mise-en-Scène?


  1. Read Corrigan & White, Ch. 3 p. 60-94

  2. Read the section on Mise-en-Scène available at

[SCREENING] Do The Right Thing (1989, dir. Spike Lee)

W — Locating Mise-en-Scène in Do The Right Thing


  1. Read Ed Guerrero (2008), excerpt from Do The Right Thing BFI Film Guide (available on e-learning).

  2. In a paragraph, describe an aspect of mise-en-scène that you noticed while watching Do The Right Thing. Explain how this formal aspect communicates a theme, idea, or tension you think Spike Lee explores in the film. Consider how that theme, idea, or tension might relate to the cultural context in which the film was produced.

F — Analyzing Spike Lee’s Mise-en-Scene: Race & Auteur Theory


  1. Project 1 — Single Shot Analysis (submit to e-learning by the beginning of class)

  2. Read Andrew Sarris (1962) “Notes on Auteur Theory in 1962” (available on e-learning).

WEEK 5 (9/22 - 9/26)

M – [CLASS] What is Cinematography?


  1. Corrigan & White, Ch.4 p. 95-131

  2. Read the section on Cinematography (this tab only) available at

(*Project #2 will be assigned)

[SCREENING] Wendy and Lucy (2008, dir. Kelly Reichardt)

W — Locating Cinematography in Wendy and Lucy


  1. Read A.O. Scott review of Wendy and Lucy, available here: (also available as pdf on e-learning)

  2. Read Richard Brody review of Wendy and Lucy, available here:

F — Practicing Analysis of Wendy and Lucy: Contemporary American Independent Cinema


  1. Read Michael Z. Newman (2011), excerpt from Indie: An American Film Culture (available on e-learning).

WEEK 6 (9/29 - 10/3)

M – (CLASS) What is Sound?


  1. Read Corrigan & White, Ch.5 p. 177-211

  2. Read the section on Sound available at

[SCREENING] Mädchen in Uniform (1931, dir. Leontine Sagan)

W — Exploring Sound in Mädchen in Uniform


  1. Read B. Ruby Rich (1981), “Maedchen in Uniform: From Repressive Tolerance to Erotic Liberation”, available at

2) In a paragraph, describe an aspect of sound that you noticed while watching Mädchen in Uniform. Speculate about what this formal aspect might say about the recent introduction of sound technology, the Weimar period, or another cultural context influencing the film.

F — Analyzing Mädchen in Uniform: Female Filmmaking


1) Read Laura Mulvey (1975), “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (available on e-learning)

2) Read Angela Martin (2003), “Refocusing Authorship in Women’s Filmmaking” (available on e-learning)

WEEK 7 (10/6 - 10/10)

M – [CLASS] Peer Review Project 2


  1. Submit a full draft of Project 2 to e-learning.

  2. Bring a hard copy of your full draft to class.

[SCREENING] Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962, dir. Agnes Varda)

W — What is Narrative Filmmaking?


1) Read Corrigan & White, Ch. 6 p. 212-253

2) Read Kristen Thompson (1999), “Basic Techniques of Progression, Clarity, and Unity” excerpted from Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique (available on e-learning).

F — Analyzing Cleo from 5 to 7: Feminism & the French New Wave

(*Project 3 will be assigned)


1) Project 2 — Sequence Analysis (submit to e-learning by the beginning of class)

2) Read Sandy Flitterman-Lewis (1990), “From Deesse to Idee: Cleo from 5 to 7” excerpted from To Desire Differently: Feminism and the French Cinema (available on e-learning).

WEEK 8 (10/13 - 10/17)

M – Where and How to Begin Project 3

[SCREENING] Silver Linings Playbook (2012, dir. David O. Russell)

W – What is Genre Filmmaking?


  1. Corrigan and White, p. 315- top of 351

F — Analyzing Romantic Comedy Conventions in Silver Linings Playbook


  1. Read Leger Grindon (2011), excerpt from The Hollywood Romantic Comedy: Conventions, History, Controversies (available on e-learning).

  2. In a paragraph, describe a formal or narrative device used to move Silver Linings toward a happy ending. How does this device reflect certain ideas about gender, class, race, and/or sexuality in relation to happiness? And/or about Hollywood?

WEEK 9 (10/20 - 10/24)

M – [CLASS] What is Documentary Filmmaking?


  1. Corrigan & White, Ch. 7 p. 255-283

  1. Read Bill Nichols (2001), excerpt from Introduction to Documentary (available on library on e-learning).

[SCREENING] The Thin Blue Line (1988, dir. Errol Morris)

W — Analyzing the Documentary Mode of Errol Morris


  1. Read Linda Williams (1998), “Mirrors Without Memories: Truth, History, and the Thin Blue Line”(available on e-learning).

  2. Read Roy Grundmann (2000), “Truth is Not Subjective: An Interview With Errol Morris” (available on e-learning).

F — NO CLASS (Homecoming)

WEEK 10 (10/27 - 10/31)

M – [CLASS] How to Write Project 3 & In-Class Conferences

Due: Short Guide to Writing About Film, Ch. 6

W — What is Experimental Film?

Due: Corrigan & White, Ch. 8 p. 285-313

[SCREENING] Bush Mama (1979, dir. Haile Gerima)

F —Analyzing the Experimental Mode of Bush Mama


1) Read Kara Keeling (2007), excerpt from The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (available on e-learning).

2) In a paragraph, describe an experimental image or technique that you noticed while watching Bush Mama. Speculate about what this formal aspect might say about the cultural context in which the film was produced.

WEEK 11 (11/3 - 11/7)

M – [CLASS] Extending the Boundaries of Film History and Film Studies


1) Read Heide Solbrig (2009), “Orphans No More: Definitions, Disciplines, and Institutions” (available on e-learning).

[SCREENING] Selection of Educational Films

W — Exploring “Useful” Cinematic Modes


1) Read “Introduction: Utility and Cinema” from Useful Cinema by Wasson and Acland (available on e-learning).

3) In a paragraph, describe a formal aspect that varies from typical theatrical productions that you noticed in one of the films we watched on Monday. Speculate about why and how this formal aspect differs from those employed in Hollywood and other theatrical films.

F — Reviewing What We Know and Orienting Ourselves to Where We’re Going

(*Project 4 will be assigned)


  1. Project 3 – Source Analysis (submit to e-learning by the beginning of class.)

  2. Short Guide, Ch. 4 (omit sample essays)

WEEK 12 (11/10 - 11/14)

M – [CLASS] Where and How to Begin Your Film Analysis


  1. Read Corrigan & White, Ch. 12 p. 435-467

  2. Bring your previous work on Project 2 and 3 to class

[SCREENING] Manhattan (1979, dir. Woody Allen)

W — Analyzing Manhattan: Auteur FormsFormal Aspects


  1. Read my sample student film analysis titled “Sidewalks in Woody Allen’s Manhattan” (available on library e-learning).

  2. In one paragraph, describe a scene you think is significant to themes explored in Manhattan and why, using visual aspects as your primary form of evidence. Then, suggest how you might expand your thoughts on the scene to a larger analysis of the film (think about the influence of the auteur, the film’s particular representation of the city space, etc.).

F – Dissecting & Critiquing a Student Film Analysis


  1. Short Guide, Ch. 5

WEEK 13 (11/17 - 11/21)

M – [CLASS] Analysis Case Study: Transnationality and Fatih Akin


  1. Read Tim Bergfelder (2005), “National, Transnational, or Supranational Cinema: Rethinking European Film Studies” (available on e-learning).

[SCREENING] Head-On, or Gegen die Wand (2004, dir. Fatih Akin) and presentation on Akin

W — Discussing Head-On & Presentation Feedback


1)Read Savas Arslan (2011), “Fatih Akin’s Homecomings” from A Companion to German Cinema. (available on e-learning).

F – Dissecting & Critiquing an Analysis Paper on Head-On


1) Read student analysis of Head-On titled “transnationality in the films of Fatih Akin: ‘home’ in motion” (available on e-learning)

WEEK 14 (11/24 - 11/28)

M – [CLASS] Conferences


W — NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Break)

F — NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Break)

WEEK 15 (12/1 - 12/5)

M – [CLASS] Peer Review & Work Session


  1. Submit a full draft of Project 4 to e-learning.

  2. Bring a hard copy of your full draft to class.

[SCREENING] Class-Selected Film

W — Class-Led Discussion Analysis of Class-Selected Film

F — Presentation Preparation and Checklist for Final Project

WEEK 16 (12/8 - end)

M – [CLASS] Project 4 Presentations (5-10 min)


W — Project 4 Presentations (5-10 min)

** MONDAY 12/15


1) Project 4 – Film Analysis + Research (submit by 5 p.m.)

2) Revised submissions of a previous project if you received a grade lower than a B-

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