Write a formal film analysis on Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004) . You will remember earlier in the semester we outline that a formal analysis looks at the individual, artistic choices that are made by the director to manipulate the viewer to feel a certain way. We will be focussing on 5 of the 6 formal choices. The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate a familiarity with the film criticism tools and filmmaking techniques that we have discussed in the first half of this semester. Students are expected to undertake sustained critical analysis, as well as use the vocabulary and terminology from Essential Cinema and the video lectures, in making their assessments.
Your implicit meaning should work as your thesis statement. Assignment Instructions: Write about each of the five topics listed below and include a word count for each section. The number in parenthesis, next to the category, is how many words you are expected to write in that section (the minimum word count).
For example for the Narrative section, you must a minimum of 250 words. Introduction (150 words): Who is the director, what is the nationality of the film, and when it was made?
Discuss the genre(s) of the film. State and describe the implicit meaning of the film. Narrative (250 words): Identify all of the following – the main protagonist(s), antagonist(s), the inciting incident, the turning point at the end of Act I, the turning point at the end of Act II, the climax that the film builds to, and the resolution in the third act.
Discuss how the story is told: who provides the narrative? Are there flashbacks? Is there a narrator?
Does the story unfold chronologically? If there is voiceover, what kind is it? Does the film utilize a story structure like A and B or parallel stories? Mise-en-scene (250 words):
Choose one character and one setting or location. Using the location or setting: Discuss the art direction and visual style of the film, focusing your attention on some combination of: composition, set design (set decor and objects/items in the frame), open/closed framing and use of color. Using the selected character: Discuss the character’s wardrobe, makeup, hair and associated props and how it reflects the character’s personality and journey in the film.
You can also discuss the changes or evolution of the character through these design elements. Is this character a round or flat character? Cinematography (250 words): Discuss the cinematography in the film.
How does the film use camera movement (handheld, dolly, pan/tilt, stationary, crane), framing (types of shots, angles), lens perspective, and lighting (high/low key, source, direction, quality, color) and how it contributes to the emotional impact of the story?
Identify how the camera functions as a storyteller in the film. Use at least one scene to support your answer and describe how this scene(s) fit into the film’s overall camera and lighting style.
Editing (250 words): Discuss the editing techniques used in the entire film. Discuss how does the editing creates connections with different spaces/environments and elements of time in the film. What editing tools (parallel editing, master scene technique, ellipsis, flashback/flash-forward, montage, continuity, match on action, graphic match, dissolves, fade, iris, etc.) does it use to create these relationships? H
ow would you describe the pacing and rhythm and how does the editing create the tone in the film? Use at least one scene to support your answer and describe how this scene(s) fit into the film’s overall editing style. Sound (250 words):
Choose at least one scene in the film. What type of sound elements do you hear? How does the sound design work in the scene (think about the functions of sound) and how does it make the film world seem three dimensional? Use the terms and course material to describe if the sounds (or sound effects) are diegetic/non-diegetic, on or off-screen and the sound qualities (volume, pitch, sound perspective). If there is music, discuss how the music in the scene emphasizes, comments or juxtaposes elements in the scene?
(Think about the different roles music can play in film) You MUST engage extensively with the vocabulary and concepts in the textbook. If you use any outside sources you MUST cite them. See Chapter 10 in your textbook for how to cite sources using MLA Format. Paper Guidelines & Tips You will need to watch your film at least twice to be able to do this assignment well.
Maximum word count for this paper is 2150 words. Pause the film as take notes while you watch it – make note of where specific scenes are (write the time down) so that you can revisit them later. You do not need to include the timecode in your paper. Try to not simply make arbitrary observations – see if you can find a way that the different aspects of the film combine to have a desired effect upon the audience. For example, simply saying that a character wore a hat is not a very interesting insight to include in the mise-en-scene portion.
You need to identify how the hat says something about the character and how it matches up with the rest of the film’s style. Demonstrating the capacity to follow specifically laid out guidelines is essential to getting a good grade – no matter how much you write and how much time you spend writing it, if your essay does not meet the assignment guidelines, you will receive a poor grade. This is not an evaluative essay. In other words, you are not discussing whether a film is good or not. If you start by complimenting or denigrating the film, you have drifted from the guidelines of the assignment. Spellcheck your essay before turning it in. Cite any and all websites and/or periodicals you use in your in your essay using MLA Format.
It doesn’t matter if it is single spaced, double-spaced, or what size the font is: I’ll be paying attention to the amount of words in each section. Following directions is part of the assignment. If any element of your essay is found to been taken from the internet or another source without proper citation, you will receive a grade of zero on the assignment and you will be immediately reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs.