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Classics on Film : Sequence analyses
Introduction Requirements Schedule

Working in pairs or trios, each student will have an opportunity to analyze in class a 5-to-7-minute sequence from one of our films, explaining both its structure and its place within the film at large.

The analyses will enable students to try their hand at reading film and to put critical vocabulary into practice.




Following our initial Monday screenings, students will team up (see the Schedule, below) and together select one sequence from the film in question — a series of shots that reflects the central themes or issue of the film itself.  The sequence should be at least 5 minutes but no more than 7 minutes in length.

The sequence might come from anywhere in the film — beginning, middle, or end — so long as it is sufficiently representative of the work at large.  The sequence might also involve more than one scene. 

On the Wednesday after our screening, the team should email Prof. Curley and identify the sequence to be presented.  Curley reserves the right to veto a sequence and to suggest another.

On the Thursday after our screenings, the team will offer a 30-minute oral presentation in which they

  • screen the sequence from beginning to end without commentary;
  • re-screen the sequence, describing and labeling each and every shot (see our critical and technical glossary on the Resources page);
  • explain how some of these shots engender meaning and contribute to the narrative of the sequence; and
  • explain how the sequence exemplifies the themes of the film as a whole.

In the interest of fairness, each student must do his or her share of both the labeling/describing and the explaining.  Presentations unfairly divided will receive an F.

Just before the presentation, each team will turn in to Professor Curley a well-proofed and -organized write-up that contains the following:

  • a full list of the shots that make up the sequence, given in order and with a very brief description of what the shot shows; and
  • a list of any secondary sources (print or web-based) that helped in the analysis.

One week after the presentation, each student should submit his or her own polished, 1200-1500-word essay that explains the relationship of shots to sequence and sequence to film.  The essays should follow the lines laid out by the presentation, but should also reflect some maturation of thought since then.

Please note the following:

  • Students should collaborate on the presentation, but should write their essays on their own.
  • The essay should be double-spaced and have both one-inch margins and a length of 1200-1500 words.
  • Students should footnote (or otherwise reference) any words or ideas from secondary sources in their essays.
Date Film Presenter(s)
Lipton & Stack
Cushing & Gridley
Goodman & Smukler

Morrone & Sittheeamorn

Cleopatra, part 1
Gershuny, Shafir, & Caro
10.25.11 (Tu)
Cleopatra, part 2
Annunziato & Warsavage
11.03.11 Gladiator Bhandari & Glendening
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