Movie to write about: Scott pilgrim vs the world directed by Edgar Wright

Movie to write about: Scott pilgrim vs the world directed by Edgar Wright
You will write a term paper (5-8 pages) for this class. You will need to turn in: 1) a brief
paragraph describing your topic; 2) a description of your research plan; and, 3) a working thesis statement
and a brief outline of your paper prior to the paper due dates, as outlined in the schedule. Papers must be
typed and double-spaced, with standard one-inch margins and 12-point font. Papers are evaluated in
terms of their responsiveness to the assignment and to the material presented in class and in the readings,
the logical coherence of their arguments, their quality of organization, their rhetorical sophistication, as
well as their adherence to grammatical conventions. All papers should reference specific sources and be
presented in MLA (Modern Language Association). Outside research is highly recommended; you can
access numerous books and articles on film in the Luria Library.
For my topic of mise-en-scène the paper should answer these questions if they apply:
1. As you watch the film, be alert to the overall mise-en-scène and how it shapes your interpretation and
2. Identify the elements of the mise-en-scène that seem to be contributing the most to your experience and
understanding of story and character in a scene or shot.
3. Be alert to the composition of individual shots. Where are figures and other significant elements
placed? Is the composition balanced or does it use compositional stress? What is the relationship among
the figures in the foreground, middle ground, and background?
4. How is lighting used? Is it simply providing illumination or is it used in a way that contributes to mood
or meaning?
5. How does the shot, scene, or film use kinesis? Is Movement minimal or extreme? Is the movement
limited to figure movement within the frame, or is the camera moving, or both? How does the movement
(or lack thereof) contribute to your experience and understanding of the characters and story?
6. Does the movie’s design have a unified feel? How do the various elements of the design (the sets,
props, costumes, makeup, hairstyles, etc.) work together?
7. Was achieving verisimilitude important to the design of this film or clip? If so, have the filmmakers
succeeded in making the overall mise-en-scène feel real, or verisimilar? If the mise-en-scène is stylized,
what do you think the filmmakers were attempting to convey with the design?
For the topic of Narrative in the paper should answer these questions if they apply :
1. Who is the movie’s protagonist? What factors and needs motivate or complicate their actions?
2. Consider the movie’s major characters. Can you characterize each of them according to their depth
(round characters versus flat)?
3. What is the narration of the movie? Does it use a narrator of any kind?
4. What are the differences among omniscient and unrestricted narration?
5. Carefully reconstruct the narrative structure of the movie. What is the inciting incident? What goal does
the protagonist pursue? How does the protagonist’s need influence that pursuit? What obstacles (including
the crisis) does the protagonist encounter, and how does she or he engage them?
6. Keep track of nondiegetic elements that seem essential to the movie’s plot (voice-overs, for example).
Do they seem natural and appropriate to the film or do they appear to be “tacked on” to make up for a
shortcoming in the overall presentation of the movie’s narrative?
7. Are the plot events presented in chronological order? What is the significance of the order of plot
events in the movie?
8. Keep track of the major and minor events in the movie’s plot. Are any of the minor events unnecessary
to the movie overall? If these events were not included, would the movie be better? Why?
9. Are there scenes that create a noticeable summary relationship between story duration and screen
duration? Do these scenes complement or detract from the overall narrative? Do these scenes give you all
the information about the underlying story that you need to understand what has happened in the elapsed
story time? Do any scenes use real time or a stretch relationship between story duration and screen
duration? If so, what is the significance of these scenes to the overall narrative?
10. Is any major plot event presented on-screen more than once? If so, why do you think the filmmaker
has chosen to repeat the event?
11. How do the setting and the scope of the narrative complement the other elements?
For the topic of Principals of Film Form answer these questions if they apply:
1. A useful initial step in analyzing any movie is to distinguish an individual scene’s content from its
form. First try to identify a scene’s subject matter: What is this scene about? What happens? Once you
have established that content, you should consider how that content was expressed. What was the mood of
the scene? What do you understand about each character’s state of mind? How did you perceive and
interpret each moment? Did that understanding shift at any point? Once you know what happened and
how you felt about it, search the scene for those formal elements that influenced your interpretation and
experience. The combination and interplay of multiple formal elements that you seek is the cinematic
language that movies employ to communicate with the viewer.
2. Do any narrative or visual patterns recur a sufficient number of times to suggest a structural element in
themselves? If so, what are these patterns? Do they help you determine the meaning of the film?
3. Do you notice anything particular about the movie’s presentation of cinematic space? What do you see
on the screen? Lots of landscapes or close-ups? Moving or static camera?
4. Does the director manipulate viewers’ experience of time? Is this condensing, slowing, speeding,
repeating, or reordering of time simply practical (as in removing insignificant events) or is it expressive?
If it is expressive, just what does it express?
5. Does the director’s use of lighting help to create meaning? If so, how?
6. Do you identify with the camera lens? What does the director compel you to see? What is left to your
imagination? What does the director leave out altogether? In the end, besides showing you the action,
how does the director’s use of the camera help to create the movie’s meaning?

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