Choose one of the following two options.
Option 1: Critical Review
Choose one film and write a critical review of it. This review should discuss the genre or genres of the film, how the film measures up to other films in its genre, the impact (positive or negative) of that film on other films, and the social context of the film. In short, is it an important film in its genre? Why, or why not? What are its strengths and weaknesses with regard to its generic elements?
Your finished paper should be roughly 1,500 words long, doubled-spaced, and formatted in MLA or APA style. Please see the Resources: General, Writing, and Research link on our main course page for resources and guidance on citation and on academic writing in generalsee in particular AUs Write Site and Purdue Universitys Online Writing Lab (OWL). If necessary, you can ask your tutor for further assistance. Before you write your essay, please also read the Writing Essays section in our Course Information manual. It is essential that you include textual proof within your essay; quotations and citations taken directly from a source to support your arguments should appear within your content, properly cited.
Option 2: Rhetorical Analysis of a National Film Board Production
The purpose of this assignment is to analyze a film produced and disseminated by the National Film Board that is available to your tutor through streaming video. Hundreds of films are available through the NFB website. Interviews with prominent film- and policy-makers, as well as discussions of the narrative strategies employed in many Canadian films, can be found at Athabasca Universitys Canadian Film Online site and at the Canadian Film Encyclopedia. The Canadian Film Online site also allows you to develop timelines relating film production to policy-making, and maps indicating film production by location and networks of film professionals.
You will analyze your chosen film based on its genre, its key words and images, and the rhetorical techniques used in it. Note that the film should include at least one monologue or dialogue to enable the use of tools for rhetorical analysis. This rhetorical analysis, supported by the TAPoR site in Athabasca Universitys e-Labs Virtual Tool Cupboard or your choice of another online rhetorical analysis tool, focuses on the rhetorical and linguistic choices made by the filmmakers to convey their main messages. You will also consider how these choices relate to the film and genre theory that we take up in this course, particularly as they apply to the films genre and generic elements.
Take, for example, the award-winning documentary Alter Egos (Laurence Green, 2004), which features two filmmakers at very different places in their lives and careers. A rhetorical analysis of this film should include a brief synopsis of the film itself and analytical information that explains what the filmmaker is trying to say and how he is presenting this information. In order to produce an effective rhetorical analysis of a chosen film, first watch the film while taking notes and copying down some of the dialogue for the purpose of running it through one of the online rhetorical analysis tools featured in the e-lab tool cupboard. You will need roughly 750 words of monologue/ dialogue from the film as a sample to generate a meaningful analysis.
Your tutor is available to help you in selecting an appropriate film based on your strengths and interests. Note that the National Film Board website includes effective tools for narrowing down your selection based on theme and year of production. Your chosen film should be at least twenty minutes long.
Rhetorical Analysis Tools
Once you have chosen, watched, and annotated your film, choose one of the rhetorical analysis tools in the e-lab online tool cupboard. These tools serve a variety of functions, such as identifying word patterns, linguistic repetition, correlations between and among words used in piece of text, and so on. Use these tools to develop some of the analytical content of your essay. Again, your tutor can help you to navigate the choices available. You may find the e-labs Rhetorical Analysis Tutorial of value in preparing your assignment. Another good starting point is the e-Labs rhetorical theory interactive scenario, The Mad Hatters Tea Party.
Assignment Details and Outline
You will find below a suggested essay outline and the marking rubric that will be used to evaluate your work. Your finished paper should be roughly 1,500 words long, doubled-spaced, and formatted in MLA or APA style. Please see the Resources: General, Writing, and Research link on our main course page for resources and guidance on citation and on academic writing in generalsee in particular AUs Write Site and Purdue Universitys Online Writing Lab (OWL). If necessary, you can ask your tutor for further assistance. Before you write your essay, please also read the Writing Essays section in our Course Information manual. It is essential that you include textual proof within your essay; quotations and citations taken directly from a source to support your arguments should appear within your content, properly cited.
The recommended development sections that follow may comprise more than one paragraph, depending on your writing approach and style. Your tutor is available to review an outline of your intentions before you begin writing your essay. Please read Developing an Outline on the OWL site before you begin.
In your introduction, summarize and contextualize your chosen film and its provenance. In your own words, explain the purpose of the filmmakers and their objectives. Within the introduction, identify the key elements of the rhetorical situation:
What is prompting the message?
What circumstances are prompting the communication?
Who is the sender of the message and what is their intention?
Who is the intended audience?
What is the main message conveyed by this film and how is it conveyed?
What is the genre of this film and how does it respond to the parameters of its genre?
In your own thesis statement, briefly outline the rhetorical approaches you will discuss in your development as well as the content analysis techniques that you have used to deconstruct your selection of textthat is, which online rhetorical analysis tools you used.
Development I: Focus on Content
Use the online rhetorical analysis tool that you have chosen to analyze the excerpt(s) of monologue/dialogue that you have taken from the film. The content and direction of this section will depend on your observations and the conclusions that you draw based on the results of your analysis. Key points to consider are
What words are repeated by the speaker?
What are the relationships between or among these words?
What effects are produced by the use of these words (for example, associations, images, impressions)?
How does this relate to the intention and message of the film?
Development II: Focus on Rhetorical Technique
In this section, respond to the following questions. Note that these questions are directly related to the concepts presented in Units 1 and 2.
What is the genre of the film?
How is the film organized?
Which principles of literary genres are present in this film?
How would you characterize the style and tone of the film?
Which images, techniques, or devices have been borrowed from literature to enhance the communication of the films message?
Development III: Focus on Rhetorical Effectiveness
In this section, respond to the following questions in relation to the effectiveness of the delivery of the intended message. Use your knowledge of film and genre, as well as your own reaction to the film, to guide your response.
Does the genre serve to effectively communicate the main message of the filmthe filmmakers thesis?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of this film with regard to its generic elements?
Do the rhetorical techniques used in your selection(s) of text complement the content?
Is the content effectively delivered through the rhetorical strategies used?
Does the film succeed in delivering the filmmakers main message?
If so, how does it achieve this?
If not, how could the message be delivered more effectively? Through another genre? Through other rhetorical techniques?
In your conclusion, revisit the main ideas and arguments that you present in your paper. Restate whether you, in the end, feel that the film fulfills its intended purpose. Consider whether the document effectively addresses all of the elements of the rhetorical situation: purpose, audience, stakeholders, and context.