Final project

For your final project, you also have 3 possibilities (same as the midterm). You must choose a different option than you did the previous time. You can think of the final project as your “major” in this course and the midterm as your “minor.”

Option A:

Write an article-length critical essay (8-10 pages double-spaced including a 1-2 pages bibliography), think of it as a draft of an article that could be publishable in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Develop original ideas and argue to support a thesis. It should be on both style/aesthetics and content/cultural implications (How do they echo each other?). It should be on one (or several) of the films we saw for the course. Don’t repeat what has been said in class, but build on it and critique it. If you do quote a classmate, cite them. Themes, motifs, characters, objects, music, lighting are all possibilities. Your project could also include a comparison with a film outside of what we watched for this course. If you want to analyze a different French/Francophone film, run the idea by me first. Make sure to use the vocabulary of cinema. The essay must be in French.

On “Conference Day” (Tuesday of week 15), students doing the critical essay will present their projects and findings to the class in a brief presentation. By that point, most of your paper should be written out, but you don’t have to submit it to me yet. You may read some passages from your paper directly, but an engaging intervention would be better for everyone. You can make a slideshow, display screenshots, or have extracts ready to play (but not too long!). You will have 10-15 min (depending how many people are doing it). We’ll reserve a couple of minutes for Q&A/feedback. Afterwards, review and edit based on the feedback you received, and submit your definitive version on the week of finals (date TBA).

Option B:

Create a short film (10-12 minutes) demonstrating skills in several narrative/stylistic techniques. It should be on a theme related to the course (diversity, identity politics, etc.) and respond in an intertextual way to movies we watched for the course or other movies/events that pertain to your topic. If filmmaking is your main interest, this can be a great practice for you. Your film can be fiction, nonfiction, or a multitude of other genres and styles. Creativity, originality and meaningful connections between form and content will be considered when grading. Be mindful and deliberate during your editing process. The language used by your actors/in your situations may be in English, but if it is, you must add French subtitles. French for dialogue is still recommended. Keep it PG-13.

You will need to send me the movie ahead of the “Film Festival Day” (Thursday of week 15), at least 24 hours in advance. It might not be your final cut (because you will receive feedback and suggestions from your peers) but it should be a “final” version. Submit your definitive version by e-mail to me on the week of finals (date TBA).

Option C:

Create a video essay (10-12 minutes). Like for the written essay, it should be on one (or several) of the films we saw for the course. Develop original ideas and argue to support a thesis. The content can be similar to what a written essay would be, but the medium is different. Take advantage of the video format! Your essay can be on style/aesthetics or content/cultural implications (both if possible). Themes, motifs, characters, objects, music, lighting are all possibilities. Your project could also include a comparison with a film outside of what we watched for this course. If you want to analyze a different French/Francophone film, run the idea by me first. Make sure to use the vocabulary of cinema. Your must “narrate” your essay in French.

You will need to send me your video essay ahead of the “Film Festival Day” (Thursday of week 15), at least 24 hours in advance. It might not be your final cut (because you will receive feedback and suggestions from your peers) but it should be a “final” version. Submit your definitive version by e-mail to me on the week of finals (date TBA).

Rubric for the critical essay:

  • Depth of analysis and quality of the arguments………………………………….. 50 pts
  • Use of technical film vocabulary and pertinence of evidence cited……… 30 pts
  • Format convention & clarity of expression………………………………………….. 20 pts

Rubric for the short film:

  • Engagement with the themes and topics of the course………………………. 50 pts
  • Coherent and pertinent use of film techniques………………………………….. 30 pts
  • Originality, overall aesthetic & use of French…………………………………….. 20 pts

Rubric for the video essay:

  • Depth of analysis and quality of the arguments…………………………………… 50 pts
  • Use of technical film vocabulary and pertinence of evidence cited……… 30 pts
  • Style conventions & clarity of your voice over…………………………………….. 20 pts

The total (100 pts) will then be divided by 3.33 for a total weight of 30% on your overall grade.

What I mean by clarity of expression:
This criterion includes the grammatical and mechanical elements of your writing in French, but also the organization of your thoughts. You should take the time to express yourself as clearly and correctly as possible, and to formulate your ideas into a coherent line of analysis. Your are not expected to be fully proficient or fluent. For vocabulary and translations, I recommend you use the website context.reverso.net.

Method for writing an analytical essay: Appendix from Film Art

Examples of video essays:

  • On comparing two movies:
  • On sound effect:
  • On character development: