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Assignment Questions

Pioneers of Cinema 1900-1929

You need to view five films from 1900-1929: Princess Nicotine, or the Smoke Factory (1909) Fantasy; The Invaders (1912) Thomas Ince Western; The muskeeteerso of Pig Alley (1912) D.W. Griffith, Gangster; Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) Windor McCay Animation; The Rink (1916) Charlie Chaplin Comedy.
Write an introduction one to two paragraphs in which you describe what you see by citing details from the films. You might also share with us what you liked and didn’t like about each of the films. What, in your opinion, are the most importaant elements that show up in later movies.
After the introduction, select one shot each from three of the films, describe each shot. Your descriptions should deal with both form and content. Each description should take at least two paragraphs (i.e. one for form and one for content).
To discuss form you should answer questions like these: How are things (people, objects, landscapes) arranged within the frame during the shot? Is there action in the shot, and if so, where within the frame does ti take place? Do things move across the frame. or do they stay in the same place? Does the camera move or is it stationary? Is the camera close to the subject or far away (i.e. close up or a long shot)?
To discuss content, you should answer questions like these: Who are the characters in the shot? What happens in the shot? What is the signifigance of what happens in the shot? What do the characters say? What do they do? What is the relationship between what they say and what they do?
End the essay with a concluding paragraph in which you summarize the most important ideas you have encountered in your study.
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