Activity: Going Beyond Watching
There is a comprehensive listing of feature films, documentaries, and mini-series from which to select to complete one or more of the exercises presented here.
- Select a film from the list and locate a review written about it. Reviews are easy to get using the Internet. Comment on what the critic had to say about the film. Outline the review and determine the elements necessary for writing a good review. One of the most important aspects of a review is to make certain the reader understands the basic idea of what the film is about. What other items are necessary to include in a good review? Discuss your observations with others and broaden your list to include other ideas.
- Collect two to three different reviews from the same film and compare what them. What are the similarities and differences? Again, check to see what elements are reported on in the review.
- Select a film that you would like to see. This time you will write a review of the film using the elements you collected from the previous exercise. It is important to remember that film reviews also offer a critique of the film. A critique is more than just reporting on the story line. It is a critical analysis of what you have seen. That means that you need to support your statements with examples from the film. It’s alright to make comparisons with other similar works you have viewed. Don’t forget to comment on the technical parts of the film as well. Sound tracks also add a great deal to a film, as so special effects. Reviews are written in the present tense.
- Prepare a report on documentary film making. There are five elements to a documentary: interviews, cutaways, “chill footage,” process footage, and archival material. Provide information on each of these elements. Then select a documentary to view from the list provided and write about how the film included each of the elements.