Contemporary Political Culture

The films that have been (and will be) watched for class, have both explicit and implicit messages concerning political and social topics/subjects of great importance. These topics include but obviously aren’t limited to the influence of media, the power (good and bad) of populism, race and gender relations, society’s acceptance of sexuality and gender which don’t adhere to traditional norms, criminal justice, capitalism, weapons of mass destruction, etc…. The movies viewed in the course portray these issues in both positive and negative lights often emphasizing the complexity inherent within such complicated matters. In some cases, the films give optimistic or pessimistic views of the issues going forward.

This project is a comparative political analysis of multiple films. In your paper, you will select one of the films for class (A Face in the Crowd, All the President’s Men, Network, and Do the Right Thing,Mad Max: Fury Road, They live, Network, Dr. Strangelove, Child of Men). You will highlight a political message or subject that is contained within the film and analyze how the film presents its message about the subject – both in terms of narrative and formal elements (often films can offer view on multiple political views so if you can support the message with evidence from the film, it does not have to be a message that is immediately obvious). Like the Week Five paper you are to incorporate a little historical context about the film or a political issue/event/person it is responding to.

You will also compare this primary analysis with a second film from class* where you may contrast how they addressed similar broad issues in different ways – or how they used specific formal elements in different ways to address different political issues. If there is more than one political theme addressed in the film that you want to discuss, that is fine but make sure you include this fact in your introduction. You will be providing the majority of your analysis to your primary chosen film, the secondary film is largely to serve as a comparison in terms of message or form – you aren’t expected to provide contextual history for the secondary film unless you feel it is pertinent. 

This will involve looking at how the films deal with the issue in terms of narrative as well as through the formal elements of film (mise en scène, cinematography, editing, sound). Showcase how the films convey political values/ideas/opinions.

Your analysis should include at least 3 sources concerning either the films in question or the political issue being addressed (at least 2 of these need to be academic sources). Sources must be cited in text and in works cited at end.

You’re expected to have clear original arguments and deep analysis, with clear organization, and provide support for your arguments throughout the paper.

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