Movie Comparison

1. 7-10 pages; double-spaced; 12 pt. type; name in upper left hand corner.

2. Production information. Please provide name of director, studio, cinematographer, screenwriter and major actors. You can find this on-line; Provide this information at the beginning of the paper; list or paragraph format.

3. Summary of plot. (short; to the point; no more than 2 paragraphs following the production information).

4. Guide to thinking through and organizing the final paper
IMPORTANT: Remember…none of the characters in any film is a real person. For the purposes of our study, the narrative and each character are constructed by the organization of the film in order to (1) create an image of femininity; (2) illustrate some claim about femininity (problems, possibilities, boundaries, obligations, etc.) and/or (3) to make an argument that enforces norms, tests boundaries, transgresses them.

Your objective is not to assess which behaviors seem “real” or “true-to-life” but to analyze the definition of femininity offered by a particular film and evaluate the position it takes on the “success/rewards” or “failure/punishment” of that particular formulation using material from one of the assigned readings to support your interpretation.

As an aid to begin thinking about the paper, you may find the following questions useful. (These questions are only suggestions to start you thinking, or to help you form a thesis for your paper. They are not meant to be an outline for your paper).

What problem does the narrative propose? What is the conflict? How is at least one female character positioned in respect to the narrative problem? (Perhaps she is the problem? Holds the key to the solution? Is the “prize” at resolution?) How does the construction of the narrative itself (linear, non-linear, fragmented, etc.) reflect the problem femininity proposes as the filmmaker sees it?

How is the problem presented visually? How do the processes of cinematic construction (editing, lighting, shot/counter-shot, sound, costume, character behavior, performance) create a desirable femininity or marginalize an undesirable femininity? What does In whose “gaze” is the female character’s image held? Is there any space for her to “look back?”

Analysis/interpretation of the “meaning” of the film. What understanding of “woman” and of women’s roles does the film give? How does the narrative work to make sure that, no matter how many different “femininities” are explored, the film’s “ideal” (no matter what it is) prevails at the end? Is there any room for resistance to the film’s message by reading “against the grain?”

Research resources (IMPORTANT): Please rely only on the assigned texts in writing your paper. The only web resources you should consult are for production information. Do not use websites to research or support any part of your paper.

!! Movies for the paper are Charulata, Vertigo, Real Women Have Curves, To Die For, and Winter's Bone.