Midterm project

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

Option A:

Write a short essay (4-5 pages double-spaced, no research bibliography needed), think of it as something that could be published online or in a non-academic magazine. Develop original ideas and argue to support a thesis. You can expand on an idea or thought you previously shared in a blog post. It can be on style/aesthetics or content/cultural implications (both if possible!). It should be about one (or several) of the films we saw for the course. Don’t simply repeat what has been said, 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.

Option B:

Create a short film (4-8 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.

Option C:

Create a video essay (4-8 minutes). Like for the written essay, it should be about one (or several) of the films we saw for the course. Develop original ideas and argue to support a thesis. You can expand on an idea or thought you previously shared in a blog post. The content can be similar to what a short 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.

Rubric for the short essay:

  • Depth of analysis and quality of the arguments…………………………………. 50 pts
  • Use of technical film vocabulary and pertinence of evidence cited……… 30 pts
  • 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 5 for a total weight of 20% 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: