Assignment 4: Analysis Essay
Essay Topics (Choose ONE):
1. How do genres articulate certain socio-political situations? Analyse a genre that was popular during a certain time period, describing how it adapted its conventions to speak to real-world issues.
2. How does form shape content? Analyse a genre that exists in film and television, addressing how different conventions and affordances are demonstrated in 3-4 films and shows.
3. According to Jean Renoir: “the marvellous thing about Westerns is that they’re all the same movie. This gives a director unlimited freedom” (quoted in Schatz, 1981, 54). Analyse 2-3 films from a director or showrunner working in a particular genre to demonstrate how they rely on and/or challenge certain genre conventions.
4. Are directors the only creators with a signature style? Analyse 2-3 films or episodes with the same showrunner, editor, producer, writer, composer, or cinematographer to identify other influential roles in screen storytelling.
Your assignment must include at least eight peer-reviewed references. References can be the units required/suggested readings, but you will probably also want to carry out wider reading where appropriate and relevant.
This assignment should be submitted via Canvas by 11:59pm on the due date. Any assignments received after that will be deemed late and incur a penalty unless a medical certificate or similar documentation is provided.
The essay should include the following:
• A demonstrated understanding of the history and key principles of the auteur theory and/or genre studies.
• Careful application of the auteur theory by identifying a filmmaker/showrunner who could be considered an “auteur”, supporting the argument by identifying the recurring stylistic features and themes across their body of
• A clear understanding of your chosen genre, including knowledge of its themes, iconography, conventions, and narrative It is expected you will have watched some of the key films in this genre, especially for your chosen time period.
• Reference to course readings, materials, and terminology where It is expected that you will use the vocabulary of formal style and other concepts from the seminars in the course of your analysis.
• Ensure that the essay has analytical depth. For instance, the essay should not simply identify an auteurist technique or genre convention, but explore why and how that technique or convention is employed, as well as the effect.
• While the genre(s) and/or auteur(s) do not have to be one of those examined in this unit, the essay must draw on the concepts from this unit. You should also justify the status of your chosen group of screen texts as a genre, and/or the status of your chosen filmmaker/showrunner as an auteur.
• Students are not permitted to use Taika Waititi or the Western genre for their topic. You should not focus on the films or shows from your Narrative Analysis or Close Scene Analysis, but you may mention them if they are relevant to the analysis.
• It is important that you are familiar with the genre(s) you are analysing and the auteur’s work. This means watching and analysing the screen texts (i.e. films and TV shows) rather than relying on plot descriptions from secondary materials.
• Avoid trying to cover too much, and instead analyse in depth and detail. For example, do not try to cover an entire genre, but maybe focus on a particular epoch in which it was produced (e.g. post-9/11 horror films, rom-coms on streaming services, or Westerns made in Australia).
• Provide a title, introduction, body (your analysis section), conclusion, and reference You may also include subheadings.
• Cross-reference where possible i.e. do not compartmentalise topics into discrete paragraphs, but organise your paragraphs thematically, which will allow for a more coherent, elegant structure.
• Support every argument. Make sure you have sufficient evidence to make your points and arguments persuasive. Place further information in a footnote if necessary.
• Ensure that each paragraph covers a particular point/argument (i.e. make sure that each paragraph has a focus without trying to cover too much).
• Only identify elements of form where relevant to the argument being made. For instance, there’s no point acknowledging continuity editing unless it is relevant to your overarching argument.
• You do not need to provide a plot synopsis, only discuss the plot where relevant. You should, however, contextualize and justify your chosen example so it is clear why you have chosen it to support your argument (i.e. explain to your reader why the text you have chosen is a significant example of a “horror” text).
• Avoid evaluative phrasing and personalisation to maintain critical distance.
• Discuss the “spectator” or the “audience” rather than “I” or “You”.
• Proofread thoroughly to avoid stylistic, grammatical and spelling errors.
• Being an academic essay, it is expected that your arguments will be supported by secondary evidence and that these will be appropriately referenced in APA
o Eight peer-reviewed references is the absolute minimum for this assignment. All references can come from the set and further readings, but you may do further research if you wish.
o References/quotes are not counted in the word limit.
o All screen texts and scholarly sources must be referenced (in APA Style) in the reference list, which should be on a separate page at the end of the essay. The References list should contain everything cited in the essay.