Spring 2014

Nicole's short film

Here is the film that Nicole screened at the Academic Excellence Showcase. The theme for the course was "landscape." Students made a film a week for about seven weeks before getting about  a month to work on a final project. This was Nicole's second film of the term. Each film was meant to enact or demonstrate a particular theory of landscape. You can see all of the films here.

J.B. Jackson Portlantopia from nlongoria08 on Vimeo.

Assessing this term's films

Feel free to respond to any or all of the following:

  • Which set of films did you enjoy the most: Alexander Payne, Michel Gondry or Sofia Coppola?
  • The least?
  • Which individual film did you enjoy the most?
  • The least?
  • Which set of films did you find the most interesting from an academic perspective, particularly in relation to our discussion of m-e-s?
  • The least?
  • Which individual film did you find the most interesting from an academic perspective?
  • The least?

Frame Analysis: THE BLING RING

Choose one (1) of the following frames and produce a detailed analysis of what you see. Exercise your best judgment about what to write about in terms of m-e-s, the shot and the frame. If you can't explain why you are writing about something, don't write about it.

Go here for full instructions.

At 6:18:


At 37:51:


At 83:41:


Third Essay

Topic and direction:

  • Write a critical analysis of mise-en-scène (m-e-s) in the films of Sofia Coppola based on course screenings, readings, and discussions. In particular, focus on the question of whether you can make the case for Sofia Coppola having a distinct visual style as a director and what are the elements of m-e-s and her uses of the camera that define that style.
  • As a way of explaining or illustrating your argument, your analysis should include a close reading of at least two (2) of the frame grabs from each film in the group posted to the blog for the Frame Analysis assignment. You may also use an image, or images, of your choosing.
  • Note that “critical” in this context means to be detailed in your analysis, not judgmental as to quality. Think about what is visually distinctive about Coppola's films.
  • As you select elements or points for discussion, consider the contributions of other "authors" to the look and feel of the films. For example, the directors of photography or the production designers and actors.

Additional guidelines and requirements:

  • As a formal academic paper, this essay should have a clear thesis, or central argument, to make. Sample prompts for this essay: “Mise-en-scène (m-e-s) in Sofia Coppola's films is defined by …”, or, “In Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette and The Bling Ring, you can see Michel Sofia Coppola's visual style through the following uses of mise-en-scène (m-e-s)  …”
  • Essays should cite and document sources following these guidelines.
  • Films should be cited as follows. The first reference should provide a complete title and a date of release in parentheses, e.g., Lost in Translation (2003) (note that the film title is italicized). Subsequent references need only include the title. For films with longer titles, such as The Bling Ring, subsequent references can use a truncated title, as in Bling Ring. Film titles do not need to be included in the list of cited works.
  • Initial reference to mise-en-scène should use the full term. For subsequent references, “m-e-s” is acceptable. You can follow this guideline for all specialized terms.
  • There is no page requirement or limit for this paper, but use five to eight (5-8) as a guide.
  • Essays should be double-spaced with reasonably-sized fonts and margins (readability should be your goal). Number your pages.
  • Be specific in referencing names of filmmakers, characters, places, etc. IMDB and Wikipedia are both good sources for basic information about films and film productions.
  • For guidance on writing academic essays, refer to the resources I have on this page, including the WOU Writing Center. You can also consult with me. For longer questions or to have me review drafts, come to office hours. Shorter questions can be handled electronically via e-mail or on IM or over the phone (503-838-8296). You can also ask for advice via the class blog.

Due date and submission:

  • This essay is due by 11:59 pm on W 6/11. You will also have until that day and time to arrange an extension for full credit. Go here for details about Finals Week.
  • Submit your work electronically by the agreed upon date following these guidelines. For the assignment in the filename, use “Coppola."
  • The Director Essays are each worth fifteen (15) points towards your grade.

Finals Week

  • We will not meet as a class.
  • I will have new office hours for Finals Week. Please check my homepage for details. I will have the days and times posted by the end of this week.
  • The third essay is due by the end of the day (11:59 pm) on W 6/11. However, you may submit your assignment starting on M 6/9 (but not before). See essay instructions for additional details.
  • You will have until the end of the day on W 6/11 to arrange an extension for full credit.
  • The Frame Analysis for The Bling Ring is due following the normal schedule for that assignment.
  • Blogging for week 10 continues through T 6/10.
  • To count towards your grade in Spring 2014, work must be in by 5:00 pm on F 6/13.