Classical Hollywood films
Select One of the following prompts, and write an essay on the prompt. Your essay will be graded on your use of course materials and your analyses. You should therefore show your breadth of understanding course materials in your overall exam. Since this is a take-home exam, you will be expected to develop your ideas through re-viewing the films, selecting specific scenes, conducting shot-by-shot analyses, and developing a focused thesis. You must use specific course terms and concepts relevant to your thesis in order to develop your essays. Please cite (author, page number) whenever applicable. You do not need a “works cited” page unless you use outside sources. Outside sources are not recommended as they sometimes take away from your own analysis. Each essay should be 3-4 pages in length, typed and double-spaced. 1. In her theory of spectatorship, Laura Mulvey argues that classical Hollywood films assume an imagined male spectator exists. This requires audiences to view films via a hegemonic male perspective producing two modes of looking (voyeuristic scopophilia and narcissistic (or fetishistic) scopophilia). Use Mulvey’s theory of spectatorship to analyze the meaning of TWO of the following films: Rear Window, Thelma and Louise, or Citizen Kane. 2. Semiotics is the study of signs. Films use signs that are known and understood within particular communities, but they also produce signs within the world onscreen. Analyze TWO of the following signs: (a) the glass ball in Citizen Kane; (b) snakes in True Grit (2010); or (c) guns in Thelma and Louise. Then, examine how these signs help to reveal meaning in their respective films. 4.Is masculinity changing today? Answer this question by examining the role of the hero in two films. Select EITHER Star Wars and The Matrix OR True Grit (1969) and True Grit (2010) for your analysis. 5. Stuart Hall argues that stereotyping (1) reduces, essentializes, naturalizes, and fixes difference; (2) divides the acceptable from the unacceptable; (3) tends to occur where there are gross inequalities in power. Furthermore, he argues stereotypes must be deconstructed from within in order to abolish them. Does this process of stereotyping continue today? Answer that question by analyzing stereotypes in The Matrix AND True Grit (2010).
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