Your “Midterm” and Our Next Movie


Next week is midterms. Of course, we’re not actually having a “midterm exam”: most of the concepts I’m teaching you require time and solitude for their thoughtful application. Therefore, I’m having you write me a reading instead.

Consider my discussion of 괴물 earlier in semester, as well as the different techniques we’ve used to read films so far, such as these:

  • looking for patterns (repetitions, for example, or parallels between characters or scenes)
  • studying character interactions to see if they represent social forces or constructions (like the Principal in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off representing institutional systems
  • looking at symbolism (how do the piercings of women’s bodies in The Stepford Wives connect t theories of feminism, and male anomie in reaction to feminism?)
  • looking for cultural significance (why do bows keep showing up in Korean films, like 괴물?)
  • psychological reading (like how the Muppets are essentially stand-ins for children in The Muppet Movie)

I want you to submit to me a 1000-word (about 4 pages long) reading of a film — of your choice, from the list below — by noon on 27 October. You can put it in my mailbox (in IH341).

For your midterm reading, choose one of the following films:

  • Don’t Bother to Knock (1954)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  • Chinatown (1974)
  • Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  • The Dark Crystal (1982)
  • Pretty in Pink (1986)
  • Jungle Fever (1991)
  • Trainspotting (1996)
  • Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
  • Inglourious Basterds (2009)
  • True Grit (2010)

This list is quite diverse, so I expect you can find something here to appeal to you. If you want to write about another film, which we haven’t discussed in class, feel free to ask me, but do it soon!

Remember, plagiarizing results in an F for the course — not for the reading only. Avoid plagiarism. I strongly encourage you to review the two following pages of advice and information:

As usual, all written work must be typed, and I will not accept it by email. Submit the paper in my mailbox in IH341. If you can, have the secretary stamp the date and time onto the paper, to prove you handed it in before the deadline.

By the way, the film we will watch on 25 October is The Invention of Lying. I expect that you will have watched it and be ready for a possible quiz, as well as for discussion, on that day! You can find the film here.

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