EXTRA-CREDIT MOVIE REVIEW – choose 2 (two) from list below
Each movie- Typed, double-space, 4-5 pages in length, 1” margins, 12 point font (about 1000 words).
HISTORY OR HISTORICAL EVENTS
* LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – at WMU Education Library Sangren Hall
“The best historical epics are interior, burrowing into outsize personalities to reveal the madness that made them great, the greatness that made them mad. T.E. Lawrence, who helped the Arabs overthrow the Ottoman Empire only to see their dream betrayed by the politicians in Europe, is a figure whose elusive charisma is perfectly captured in screenwriter Robert Bolt’s epigrammatic dialogue, in Peter O’Toole’s brilliantly bold portrayal and in Lean’s image of a vast desert that one small Englishman filled with his idealism and ambition.” (Time, Sept. 5, 2005)
* THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. A neo-realist classic, the greatest docudrama ever made, it recreates Algerian independence movement’s use of terrorism vs French counter-insurgency campaign. Does terror work? Does state use torture work to defeat an insurgency? Can a state win the battle but lose the war. WMU film collection in Waldo Library DVD PN428
* NASSER 1956 – recent Egyptian docudrama about Gamal Abdul Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal Co. and the Suez Crisis of 1956. WMU film collection. Arabic with English subtitles.
* MUNICH – Controversial film by Steven Spielberg about Israel’s use of assassinations to avenge murder of its Olympic team by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Does the tradition of revenge—an eye for an eye—solve the problem?
* THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN Dramatic film about the Crusades.
Saladin vs the Crusaders (Franks) in 1187. Why was Jerusalem worth everything—and nothing? WMU film collection DVD D8
* THE GATEKEEPERS (2012) – documentary, unprecedented look inside Israel’s Secret Service, features interviews with 6 former heads of Shin Bet re: Israel’s “war on terror”—Palestinian & Jewish.
* ISLAM: EMPIRE OF FAITH – documentary. WMU film collection V6390.
CURRENT EVENTS: NOT “HISTORY” BUT MORE THAN “FUN”
* ARGO – Iran Revolution of 1979, U.S. embassy hostages drama.
* SYRIANA: Based on CIA agent Robert Baer’s memoir. A complex commentary on oil/gas & difficulties of “reform”. You’ll need to watch it twice to figure it out.
* PARADISE NOW: Israeli film that tries to empathize with Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Why do some people commit suicide as a political act?
* THE KINGDOM: thriller set in a today’s Saudi Arabia.
* RENDITION: suspect disappears into secret prison abroad.
* THE SIEGE (1998): 3 years before 9-11, anticipates important issues. Screenplay by Lawrence Wright, author of “Looming Tower”.
* THE KITE RUNNER – film based on best-selling novel set in Afghanistan about friendship of 2 boys, 1 Sunni, 1 Shia (Hazara).
HOW TO WRITE A MOVIE REVIEW FOR EXTRA CREDIT – choose 2 (two) from list above; each worth up to 5%. Follow Directions —
PURPOSE: EVLUATE HISTORY AS FILM; FILM AS HISTORY
Your MOVIE REVIEW should evaluate the film as BOTH 1) A VERSION OF HISTORY and 2) AN ART / ENTERTAINMENT FORM . Be sure to cover the whole movie. WATCH IT TWICE—first for enjoyment, then (via fast forward) to analyze it.
FORMAT – MUST BE SUBMITTED AS “HARD COPY” – ON PAPER.
A) Top of Page 1: Your name, and the course title, semester, date.
B) TOP OF Page 1. Begin with a complete “bibliographical citation”, placed at the top for the first page, noting Title, Production Year e.g. 1962, 2008, and the Credits: Director, Cast (Actors), Screenplay, Cinematography, & Music. (Single space, will take 2-3 lines…like Abstract citation. )
C) Typed, double-space, 4-5 pages in length, 1” margins, 12 point font (about 1000 words).
PLEASE NOTE: D) Contain at least 3 QUOTATIONS* from 3 DIFFERENT professional reviews. Footnote your citations at the end of your review in same format as articles used for the abstracts. The purpose of this requirement is to give you “models” for your own review. You may quote freely from professional reviews—just make sure to give credit to your source(s). The Web will be helpful; just make sure to cite what sites you use. * NOT JUST A ONE SENTENCE “BLURB”. USE AT LEAST A SHORT PARAGRAPH FOR EACH QUOTE THAT SAYS SOMETHING SUBSTANTIVE – in quotations!
E) As a CRITICAL reviewer, you must do MORE than provide a mere summary of contents. Your duty is to advise a prospective viewer (and potential buyer of the tape or DVD) whether this film is worth watching as BOTH HISTORY & ENTERTAINMENT.
Use published Movie Reviews as models e.g. in The New York Times. Via the Internet, you can access multiple reviews for most films e.g. at nytimes.com. The WMU Library subscribes to many services you can access via WMU-based computers. Ask a librarian for assistance. YOUR REVIEW IS TO BE WRITTEN AS A CRITICAL EVALUATION, NOT JUST A PERSONAL REACTION PAPER. THE TONE SHOULD BE PROFESSIONAL, THIRD PERSON – not about you and your feelings
Your review should include the following points:
A) EVALUATE AS HISTORY OR COMMENTARY ON RECENT EVENTS (important for this class!) — (actually, films based on history can also be viewed as “commentaries” e.g. Algeria=Iraq? e.g. Kingdom of Heaven = Arabs & Israel?
- RELATE THE MOVIE TO OUR CLASS – WHERE DOES IT FIT IN? WHAT TIME-FRAME, SUBJECT(S)? EVENT(S)? HISTORICAL CHARACTERS?
- IS IT BASED ON A BOOK?
- How accurate is it in its portrayal of the subject e.g. Lawrence of Arabia. How accurate is it as “history”—the record of what actually happened? What might NOT be accurate? COMPARE THE MOVIE WITH OUR READINGS, LECTURES.
B) EVALUATE AS A FILM
1. Version, and Format: DVD, streaming internet, etc.? Where did you obtain the film? Where did you view it, and when?
3. Actors and Main Characters. Who was who—both as actors and characters? (Any stars?) Who played who? Who were these characters in history?
4. Who was the Director. What was his/her reputation? What other films did he direct?
5. Awards? Did this film win any recognition? (Oscars?) Reputation today?
6. Plot: what story does it tell? Make sure to discuss its moment in history
7. Structure: Is it one seamless stream? Uses “flashbacks”? How organized?
8. Performance: Who carried out the action? Did the actors achieve the goals of the plot? Were the actors good choices for the roles that they played?
9. Setting: what is time frame? Where did the action happen? What locations were used?
10. Cinematography: What is the environment? How well was it portrayed and conveyed to the audience?
11. Soundtrack: did the musical score contribute to impact?
12. Script/story presentation. Who wrote the script? What are the sources for the script?
13. What kind of film is this? Pure fiction only for entertainment? A commentary on current issues? Background for the present? How would you classify it?
C) REACTIONS: Did seeing this film contribute to your a) understanding (thinking) and b) feeling(s) about the Middle East? Did viewing it do anything for your sense of History? See any connection to current developments?
D) RECOMMENDATION: SHOULD OTHERS SEE THIS? SHOULD IT BE KEPT ON THE LIST FOR THIS CLASS? Should I continue to offer this as an option in this course? IF YOU WERE A TEACHER, WOULD YOU USE IT? Yes? No? Why?