The Battle of Algiers custom essay

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Writing Assignment #2: An analysis essay on The Battle of Algiers

Task: Find, in one of our readings for this session, a starting point for your own exploration and analysis of The Battle of Algiers. We�ve done some work already digging out �nuggets� from our readings. Based on these nuggets, we�ve �wondered� about what to expect and look for in our first viewing of The Battle of Algiers. We�ve discussed the film together from several angles. Now review where we�ve been, choose a focusing idea in one of the readings, and use it to analyze the film along one line of inquiry. You will need to view the film at least twice to write a successful essay.

Write a three to four page essay centered on the film using this process.

This is a �natural� process�we note and hang onto flashes of insight that we value or concepts of interest every time we read others� work. (Or we certainly can do this.) Then we take these with us when we read, view, contemplate other texts or experiences.

One way to think of this assignment is like this:
Author A says, �x and y.� Using �x and y,� I see and say �z� about The Battle of Algiers.

Or try this:
Form an analytical question about the film from a nugget in one of the readings; the answer to the question becomes your thesis. Analytical questions usually include� how (in what ways)� or �why (for what reasons).� �What are the different kinds of____?� or �What are the effects of___?� also make for good starting analytical questions.

Note: You will need to view the film again at least once to write a successful essay. Please plan accordingly.

Remember, analysis means breaking the whole into parts/elements and examining how some of the parts relate to each other and contribute to the nature and quality of the whole. That�s what chemists do when they analyze a compound; that�s what we do when we analyze complex texts like films.

Your audience: write to academic readers with a working familiarity with The Battle of Algiers. You won�t need a lot of summary of the film, then; you will focus on you analytical argument and your case for your thesis, not on retelling the events of the film.

Introducing the texts in overviews: You will need to include an introductory sentence about the film; it�s just common practice when writing about texts. Include the film�s title and date, the director�s name, the genre or kind of film, and a reference to content/themes. You will also need a one-sentence overview of the text you�re pulling your starting point from: include the text�s name, the author�s name, the kind of text, its purpose or thesis.

Include some context for the nugget you�ve chosen from the course reading as well as giving a brief overview of the reading: Somewhere in your essay, probably early on, you will need to explain how and why the idea you�re using as your starting point comes up in the source reading. What is that author discussing and what significance does the nugget have in that writer�s argument or text? This serves both clarity and courtesy.

Using PIE to structure your paragraphs and move forward clearly through your essay�s argument:

PIE refers to a basic, effective pattern for paragraphing in essays. Each paragraph begins with a new Point�with your next new claim. After explaining the point and/or defining new terms, the writer follows the point with an Illustration�a quotation of written text, a vivid description of an image or sequence of images, of a shot captured by the camera, etc. The Explanation of the example follows�how/why does the example illustrate the paragraph�s point or claim?

Please use this basic model for approaching your paragraphing in this essay. Of course, you might actually need PIEIE or even PIEIEIE to do justice to the paragraph�s point. And your final explanation of the paragraph might need to tie your point all the way back to your thesis, as well.

�Quoting� film�the movie is the central text under investigation in this task, the text you return to to develop your ideas and support them. Because so much of film�s language is visual, �quoting� the film might mean making vivid, detailed references to specific moments, images, shots, etc. in the film. You might also quote dialogue or narration, of course. You can experiment with a �long� example that you explain and unpack in some detail as well as some briefer references to other similar moments or examples in the film. Be sure, though, that your examples always serve a distinct point or claim you�re making about the film.

Film terminology�although I�ve suggested you consult the Yale film analysis tutorial (Suggested Resource), I don�t expect you to have mastered all the film lingo. However, you should know a shot is a length of unedited film and a cut is the way two shots are edited or joined together. You should know that shots are planned carefully in terms of camera angles, of camera distance from the actors/setting, and of camera movements during shooting. You should know that everything in front of the camera�the costuming, location/setting and sets, the lighting, etc.�is also carefully planned. And you should be able to hear and note the sound cues, sound effects, and musical score that are part of the film and its impact.

Setting up your quotes/examples: Even though your readers are fairly familiar with this film, they won�t remember all its scenes and details. With film texts and other texts, too, you need to lead into the quotation or detail by identifying when it happens in the story, in which scene or location, and perhaps who is talking to whom. This gives the necessary context for readers to follow the example.

Signposting: I use this term to refer to the ways you help your readers stay with you as you move through your essay and your argument for your thesis. PIE, with its distinct opening point for every new paragraph, helps with this signaling work. Using key words drawn from the thesis can help readers see the connections you�re making between paragraph and thesis. Transitional phrases within paragraphs help to foreground the connections between sentences.

Please do not consult or integrate other sources into this essay. Please rely on your own responses, insights, and analysis for your essay�s discussion. The one exception might be to quote and credit a colleague from one of our discussion forums.

Helpful hints:
� Don�t slide into retelling the story or events of the film.
� Begin each paragraph with a claim you are making as part of your case for your thesis. Don�t start with an example or moment from the movie.
� Don�t close paragraphs with quotes or examples but with your explanation of their significance to your point and thesis.
� Remember to write about the film text in present tense.

Grading Criteria
Demonstrated grasp of text(s)the film and the reading
clear, tight, analytical focus on the film
satisfyingly complex thesis
developed and supported argument for thesis
vivid and persuasive integration of illustrations
significant, not trivial, use of moment/idea from reading
effective organization and signposting; use of PIE
accuracy with MLA system of citation (No need for a Works Cited page)
clarity and precision at the sentence level
mechanics of grammar, punctuation and spelling
Stylistics including varied sentence construction and sentence length, streamlined prose without unnecessary repetition or verbiage, active verbs, vivid word choice, and more.


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