Metropolis 1927 by Friedrich Christian Anton Lang


Write a short descriptive and analytical paper on one of the feature-length films shown in class. It is probably best to choose one of the films shown the first five weeks; you can choose a film being shown later, if you see it in advance, but you may not do as well without the benefit of a class discussion. Plan on viewing this film at least twice. The core of your paper should be a discussion of how certain cinematic techniques create emotion, meaning, or both. It might be best to choose a single scene, or moment, or a single technique used in several different places. Do not summarize the plot. Do not explain why you did or did not like the movie. Instead, demonstrate an ability to try to understand how cinema works. You should give specific examples, with DVD running times. Describe a composition, or a cut, or a camera movement. You can discuss the use of sound but only if it’s an unusual and creative use. Do not tell us how the music enhances the mood. Do not discuss acting or the script, except briefly if either is related to the visual techniques you are analyzing. Each argument in your paper should take the form of discussing and describing a shot or technique, and then suggesting its possible effects. It should demonstrate your ability to discuss how the language of cinema creates expression and meaning in a film. Length: ~750 words

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