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General Requirements. Roughly, a minimum of three pages of type-written prose (at 250 words per page

General Requirements. Roughly, a minimum of three pages of type-written prose (at 250 words per page) is necessary for even the simplest exposition of ideas concerning any of the top-ics at hand. It would entail an unusual degree of succinctness of expression to expect that a very good, or excellent effort could be restrained to less than this lower limit of three pages. At the other limit, efforts that exceed three pages are not discouraged. The limiting case here will be the paper that, so far as its content would warrant, could have been much shorter but wasn’t. Nearly all of the papers that your instructor has received for these assignments that have exceeded the upper suggested limit have been well worth the effort of reading them, and not just because they were longer, but because their content warranted that length.
General Objectives of the Paper Assignments. The assigned papers are primarily exercises in interpretation. To an equal degree, they will also rely upon your developed powers of observa-tion and description. Issues of aesthetics, such as you might be willing to invoke and discuss, will be welcome and may contribute to the worth of a paper, but such is not necessary for a good or excellent effort. Criticism, i.e., judgment and evaluation, is not the issue here. For that matter, your instructor is not interested in whether you liked the films or not, and he summarily ignores any such testimony, either positive or negative. What is important for the task of interpretation is what you have to say about a film that reveals your comprehension of it. This presumes first of all – and as prerequisite to any significant discussion – that you have understood the film, and are able to grasp the film-maker’s meanings and intentions. The effort to acquire this understanding should be paramount in your viewing of the film, as well as in your thinking about it for the sake of class discussion and also in preparation of your written work for the class. The exercise of writing about film can be counted as well-informed just insofar as individuals need to strive hard to come to terms with a film in order to understand it, and in order to have some perspective up-on what the film-maker has to say. It also entails the transformation of the rich visual experience of viewing a film into a linguistic discourse about that visual experience. This is real work, and, for the sake of education, the harder the better. The confession that “I couldn’t really get into this movie” will be taken by your instructor as a request for a failing grade.
What Counts as Quality in the Grading of the Papers. There are no specific or simplistic right or wrong answers to any of the questions offered as parts of the paper topics; yet it is not at all difficult to distinguish between a good essay and a meek one. Central to the issue of interpre-tation – and the paper assignments are intended as exercises in interpretation – is the ability to fathom and relate the structures of meaning and significance that the film-maker has imbued into the film. The lack of attentiveness to what the film-maker means to say amounts to misrepresen-tation of the film …….….

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