International Film Review


This semester, in addition to writing standard essays, you will also have a chance to see and review a feature film. In doing so, you will mainly focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the film. This assignment is worth a maximum of 8 points. In preparing this assignment, keep the following in mind:
1. Be sure that the film you select meets these criteria:a. It should be a feature film that has had a public viewing (not a documentary or a film for special audiences).b. It should be a film for adults (not children).c. It should be a recent film, produced within the past 20 years. d. The film shouldbe “international” in terms of plot, characters, setting, and/or language, etc. e. Optimally, it should be an award-winning film, or it should have been nominated for an award. Otherwise, it should have some other special quality that makes it timely and significant.
2. Your review should be written in an essay format. Re-read the Guidelines for Writing Assignments on the course website.
3. Your review should be double-spaced and at least 1½ pages in length. Do not leave extra spacing between the heading, the title, and the text of your paper. Be sure to number your pages in the upper right hand corner of each page.
4. Choose a suitable title for your essay, one that indicates your perspective towards the film.The title of your paper should not simply be the title of the film.
5. Here are some reminders about titles: Titles are centered on the page. Do not write your title in bold letters or underline it. If you include the title of the film as part of the title of your essay, remember to place the film title in italics. However, the rest of the title should not be italicized. Do not place a period at the end of the title of your essay. Capitalize titles according to the 2009 MLA guidelines. Articles, prepositions, and conjunctions are not capitalized in titles unless they are the first or last word of the title.If used in the title, the word “is” should be capitalized since it is a verb.
6. When you first mention the film in the text of your review, be sure to include the director’s name and the year the film was released; this information can be placed in parentheses after the title, e.g.,Munich (dir. Stephen Spielberg, 2005).Italicize the name of the film each time it is mentioned in your review, even when included in the title of your essay, as noted above.
7. The plot of the film can be described in justone paragraph. The rest of your review should be devoted to a critique of the film. Do not write a two-page description of the plot!
8. Explain what you consider to be the overall theme (main idea or message) of the film.How is this theme developed?
9. Remember: you are basically evaluating the film in terms of both its strengths and its weaknesses. If you mention a strength, explain how it is achieved; if you mention a weakness, be sure to suggest how that particular aspect of the film could be improved.
10. As relevant, you should mention those involved in the production by name, i.e., the scriptwriter(s), the main actors, the director, the designers, etc. However, do not devote most of your review to simply listing all of the people involved in the production. Mention specific people only when you are evaluating their contribution to the film. Be sure to distinguish appropriately between characters in the film and the actors who perform these roles.
11. It’s best if, before you see the film, you obtain some background information about it. Perhaps you can find such information on the Internet. If you use material gleaned from credible sources in your review, be sure to cite those sources according to the 2009 MLA (Modern Language Association) citation format. (For the purpose of this assignment, Wikipedia is not an appropriate academic source, nor are blogs unless they are part of a credible online source, such as a reliable media or organizational/agency website.)
12. After you view the film, you may want to find out more background information about it, such as the historical, social, political, and/or cultural situation the film is portraying. This information may also be helpful in writing your review. Just remember to cite any credible sources from which you glean useful information. Also, keep in mind that if you are dealing with information that is “common knowledge” (like the year a film is produced), you don’t need to cite it. If you are in doubt about whether certain information is “common knowledge,” let me know and we can make that determination. However, also remember that your review is not a research paper! You are expressing your own point of view about the strengths and weaknesses of a particular film; you are not obliged to include what other reviewers have thought of it.
13. Also, keep in mind who the target reader for your review is. For purposes of this assignment, let’s imagine that your target readers are simply other students and community members like yourself and that you are writing the review for a local newspaper or magazine. So, your intention should be to help educate people about this particular film. You can imagine that the film artists themselves might also be reading your review and that they have spent a great deal of time and effort producing it. Out of consideration for their efforts and to encourage their future work, it is best to offer constructive criticism, highlighting what is appealing as well as what you feel could have been presented more effectively. Enjoy your role as an international film critic this semester!