Project Two: Film Analysis
This assignment is intended to have you take a more critical look at a popular film or documentary in which culture plays a major theme and to analyze the anthropological content of the film. You will select a film from the list below and use that as your “data” for an ethnographic analysis. Most of the films listed can be found online through YouTube, Netflix or Hulu and at worst, can be rented through Amazon for no more than $3.99 or so.
A complete assignment should consist of 3-4 pages. The analysis should be typed using 10-12 pt font and be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins.
1. Select your film.
a. If you want to watch a film that is not on the list but in which culture plays a major role, talk to me about it. This list is large but not complete. However, your choice should be a film that you have not seen before.
2. Watch the film. Consider how culture is part of the film. Think about these questions and take notes – your film may not relate to all of these:
a. Describe the element of culture and explain how it is represented.
b. What class concepts do you recognize in this film? This means any class concept from the beginning to the end of the semester.
c. Why is this topic important/interesting?
d. How do people relate to different cultures? How do people use culture to relate to each other?
e. What does the use, placement, or discussion of culture tell us about the larger society in which the film takes place?
f. What are the social groups, power relations, and personal interactions that typify the characters in the film? Analyze them as if they were people in a research project.
The key is to look at everything. Remember context. Culture can act as a framework, setting, lens, symbol, vehicle, material culture, event or focal point. Concentrate on the human behavior and how it describes the culture in that moment and in that setting—context is everything! Remember, be holistic and comparative. What does this film say about the society in which it is set? How does the exploration of culture help them say it?
3. Write your analysis. Include the following:
a. Introduction – what is this paper about? Briefly introduce the paper. Include a brief plot summary – talk about the movie – BRIEFLY – to set the context
b. Key themes and anthropological concepts found in the film. What anthropological concepts are illustrated in the film? What aspects of culture are illustrated in the film?
c. Conclusion. What are you conclusions on the topic? Tie your analysis together in one final paragraph or two.
Possible Film Options:
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)
Black Girl (1966)
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
City of God (2002)
Dakota 38 (2012)
Dream Girls (1994)
Embrace of the Serpent (2015)
Guardian of the Flutes (1994)
Karman Gei (2001)
Keita! L’Heritage du griot (1996)
Madam Brouette (2002)
Man to Man (2005)
Music is the Weapon (1982)
Night on Earth (1991)
Once We Were Warriors (1994)
Our Daily Bread (2005)
Smoke Signals (1998)
The Anthropologist (2015)
The Band’s Visit (2007)
The Figurine (2009)
The Mirror Boy (2011)
The Mission (1986)
Twice Born (2012)