Metacognitive Analysis: Writing about Film
In On Writing Well, William Zinnser argues writing about art (including film) should start from a place of love. If you don’t love what your write about, he argues,
you need to find something else to do (196). But he also suggest that the work of a critic is “serious intellectual work” requiring that we situate an object of
criticism in the context of other works (198). The best criticism, Zinnser argues, is “stylish, allusive, and disturbing” because “it jogs a set of beliefs and forces
us to reexamine” those beliefs (202). Like any text, film is a complex of genre features, ideologies, authorial choices, and cinematic techniques and traditions.
Reading these texts takes a practiced eye and years of study. A rhetorical approach to film–analyzing the different authors, audiences, genres, purposes, and
contexts–helps us to understand some of the choices and critique the effectiveness of those choices.
For your metacognitive analysis, develop your own insights about writing about film by examining the work of critics you found most compelling. Choose at least 3
critics to examine and highlight (see Zinnser for how he introduces and explores them). Who did you see as models for your analysis and why? How has your writing
changed by engaging with these critics (provide specific examples from your analysis)? What did they do that you are most interested in developing into your own style?
You may use critics we have read together but you should also include at least one critic from your outside research. You might also want to return to Corrigan for
some of the definitions of traditions and genres.
As you prepare your analysis, remember that you, like Zinnser, are making claims about the role of the critic. You may use his criteria if you wish or you can
add/alter etc. (though remember to give credit). You will want your text to demonstrate your ability to make claims, support those claims with evidence, and to use
that material around a central thesis: what does it mean to write about film? How did your analysis help someone who loved your film understand it better even if it
meant being more critical of the film than they wanted to be?
Cite your sources in a Works Cited page in MLA 8th ed. format. Your analysis should 4-5 double spaced pages and should be posted here and to your dropbox (as a pdf).
Feel free to schedule a meeting with me prior to submission.