We will work with the film, American Beauty, as a class, but for your paper, you can use any film you choose.
Basically, the idea is to first look for anything that is repeated (the first 10 minutes are the most important):
– Images or symbols
– Words or phrases
– Entire lines of dialogue
– Camera angles or movement
– Props or items of clothing
– Posture, gestures, or movement
No matter how bad the movie is, there are repeated items that can be found, and once these repeated items are discovered, the key is to ask what their meaning is. Overall, the question to ask at the end is, “What is this film really about?” There are no wrong interpretations, though some interpretations have stronger support than others.
Instead of writing a first draft, you only need to write an outline that organizes the repeated items that you found. Also, the outline should begin with your thesis statement, which is your interpretation of the film.
Please do not use the Internet for this assignment at first. You will need to use three outside sources for the paper itself, but at first, you should avoid others’ opinions and instead focus on analyzing the film yourself.
In your paper (500-800 words), you should not describe the plot of the film or simply recount the film chronologically. Instead, keep your focus on the message of the film and how the repeated items illustrate the overall message.
I have created a couple of YouTube videos that analyze the film, American Beauty, but you should not watch these videos until after we have watched the film and analyzed it in class.
Here is part I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYlfPJSkBbM
Here is part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7exCsfMj9w