silent movie thoughts

silent movie thoughts

Paper instructions:
Broken Blossoms (silent; D. W. Griffith, 1919) (viewable at A white girl abused by her father is sheltered by a “yellow” man

This assignment will address two things thoroughly: 1) what you think is the prevailing message of the film, conscious or unconscious; 2) your thesis about this message.

1) Every film conveys a message through its plotline, characterization, techniques. In this class we’ll be looking for a film’s message concerning interracial relationships. A message is not a theme (themes are, e.g., interracial romance, racism, attitudes of immigrants, the search for one’s father, the nature of political persecution). A message is a statement that reveals an ideology or certain attitude toward the theme (e.g. Interracial romance exposes ugly attitudes in a community; interracial romance is unrealistic and tragic in the era of this movie)

2) Your thesis about this message expresses your opinion about how the film goes about transmitting the message. (e.g. The film shows in many ways that Joey and John are an ideal interracial couple because the black John is “too good to be true” and will not rock the boat; By avoiding obvious racial differences and instead focusing on age-related differences, Lethal Weapon makes Riggs and Murtaugh an ideal, “colorblind” working couple) Notice that a thesis is always debatable—somebody could disagree with you. Your job is to provide strong evidence for your thesis, be a persuasive essay.

look BEYOND what happens and tell me HOW the film advances its agenda through its images, sounds, techniques, characterizations. A film may purport to convey one message but end up communicating a completely different one

• Identify film title and year of release in first paragraph
• Italicize title each time it occurs
• Use characters’ names (John Prentice), not actors’ (Sidney Poitier)
• Describe film events in present tense, not past
• Summarize plot only when supporting a point