write a paper based on 1 of the following 5 essay questions. Please note that you may only write on 1 of these topics, and you may only write about 1 of the films screened in 151 Spr 14. You should come up with your own argument based on one of these topics. Explore your chosen topic as fully and concretely as you can by referring to specific sequences and film techniques in one of the films we have seen. The sub-questions & topics listed in each topic are meant to facilitate further thought on the subject; you do not need to cover every aspect suggested. In addition, your essay must include a quotation from at least 1 of the assigned secondary readings (you will not get credit for quoting from a reading that was not assigned for this class, unless you receive permission to use that reading in advance from one of instructors). You are permitted to write on the same film that you wrote about for your clip analysis, but in that case, you must hand in your clip analysis along with your final paper (so we can make sure you are not just copying and pasting your clip analysis directly into your final paper, which would be considered handing in the same work for 2 assignments and therefore a case of academic dishonesty). Your essay should be 5-7 pp. in Times New Roman 12-point font with margins that are 1.25 inches. Again, the nature of the assignment is to make an argument that is supported by a close, detailed analysis of 1 film. Avoid plot summary except as it pertains to your argument and analysis, avoid generalizations, and be careful to focus your discussion. The paper is due by Monday, 6/9/14 by 3 PM in Friendly 311, no exceptions. 1. How are the national and the transnational related to one another? How do the local and the global interact? Choose 1 film and analyze how that film projects both a national and a transnational, or a local and a global, identity. Or, you may consider how the film you have chosen complicates our understanding of these categories—national, transnational, local, global—through both narrative (story) and formal elements (cinematic techniques, particular scenes). 2. For many film critics in the history of film, in the art of cinema, images and/or moving images have been seen as being more important than sound, though recently scholars have been reconsidering the significance of sound in film. In several of the films we have seen, sound indeed plays a crucial role. Choose 1 film and analyze the function of sound in that film. In your chosen film, how does sound work with – or against – image to produce meaning in key sequences? Does that film’s sound help to express a theme of that film and, if so, what theme does it help to express and in what scenes? Remember that sound includes not only music but also noise, dialogue and silence. 3. Several of the films we have seen draw attention to family and familial relationships in Chinese culture of the late 20th & early 21st centuries: by reinventing those relationships or discovering new possibilities in traditional relationships. Select 1 film and analyze how that film reimagines or reinvents “the family” or key familial or kinship relationships. Through what sequences or cinematic techniques does the film encourage us to see family or certain
kinship relationships in new ways? What does this reimagining of family or familial relationships contribute to the film’s theme(s)? 4. Reflect upon the different configurations or representations of urban space, and/or modern life, in the films we have seen. How is the modern and/or the urban experienced by the city dwellers, or visitors to a city, in a given film? What are the conditions of modern life, especially as experienced in the city, according to these films? Choose 1 film and discuss how it deploys cinematic techniques or elements to capture the signs of the urban and/or to convey a particular sense of the city and/or the modern condition, especially as experienced in the urban environment. 5. Many of the films we have seen explore issues related to identity and identity formation – what factors go into the making of personal or cultural identities, how memories shape identities, how identities evolve as a result of historical circumstances and/or life trajectories. Select 1 film and analyze how it approaches issues of memory, identity, and history cinematically. Be sure to deal with these issues not merely at the narrative level (i.e., in relation to story or plot), but at the formal level as well (i.e., through filmic techniques).
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