How to Write a Film Analysis
Art is a special way of presenting one’s own view of the world. Visual arts deal with vision, with images, and by doing this they claim that they render reality. Whatever extent of truth can be contained in such an assertion, still it can be disputed because art cannot completely render reality. No one can really see the world in all of its dimensions and aspects; hence, every piece of art shows only one way of perceiving reality. People cannot even be certain the world they see is absolutely the same which another person sees. In this sense, writing a film analysis is always related to some personal feelings, emotions and perception which may prove to be incomprehensible for another person. A film analysis is not like an analysis of a set of data: the former is based upon subjective perception, and the latter - upon objective facts.
The task that you need to accomplish is a complicated one. If you want to write a really good analysis, then you have to train your mind in writing such analyses. The first attempt will never be good enough, but this does not mean you should not try it. Let’s now see some useful tips on how to write a film analysis.
How to write a film analysis essay – 6 essential tips
1. Watch the film twice
You need to watch the film at least two times. The first time you will grasp the general atmosphere of the film. The second time you should look for some special aspects of the film - characters, actions, scenes, and tools used by the director. It is advisable to watch the film for the second time a few days after the first watching. While watching, you can note down important phrases uttered by the characters, descriptions, historical facts (if there are such), and interesting scenes.
Remember: do not read any analysis of the film before watching because this may distort your perception of the film.
2. Describe the background
Introduce your analysis by saying some words about the director (and/or the producer), the cast, the place where the film was shot, some prizes it has been awarded, etc. Thus you need to read some literature about the director and the films directed by him/her, and perhaps about the historical era (if the film describes past events).
3. Describe the plot and the main characters
The most important thing is to show the relation between the characters. What are their motives and interests? What are their beliefs? What do they strive for? Here is the place to analyze each main role and to say the world about its function. Do the actors play their role well? What should they improve, or what does not seem realistic in their way of playing?
Advice: do not go too far in describing the plot. You should only render the general picture of it. In the next section you should focus your attention on a particular scene.
4. Analyze the most interesting scene
This is usually the climax of a film; i.e. when the tension is increasing. It may be also the conclusion of the film, so this is your own choice. You have to describe the scene and motivate your choice to present exactly this scene and not another one. You can analyze the actors’ play in the scene, their speech and action, as well as its importance for the whole plot.
5. Interpret the message
The scene described above can (usually it does) contain the message which the director/producer/screenwriter wants to tell to the audience. The message can be of social, political, religious, or ethical nature.
6. Recommend the film
The film in question certainly has its flaws and weak points. Whether you like it or not, you should recommend watching it, at least because the staff involved in its production have made a lot of efforts.
As you see from all said above, a good film analysis requires preparation and enthusiasm from your side. It is not only about watching a particular film, but also about having necessary knowledge to analyze the latter.
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