film comparison in french cinema in the silent era covering film the smiling madame beudet and film un chien audalou

1500–2000 words:

In consideration of the influence of technical and aesthetic advances in film language that occurred during the span of this course, compare a film shot during cinema’s early days to one of a similar style and genre shot during the more polished studio era of the 1930s. Be sure to consider how progress made by the likes of Méliès, Porter, and Griffith, as well as the influence of Soviet montage, German expressionism, and the coming of sound helped shape later filmmakers’ approaches to camera work and editing when telling their stories. Note: In your comparison, feel free to examine either two entire films or two individual scenes from these films.

You must refer to and properly cite at least three outside sources in your work. Citations should be in MLA style. Your Final Essay will be due by the end of Module 14.

Be sure to keep your Final Essay in mind throughout the course. In the early modules, as we cover film history from the 1890s onward, consider which films you think you would like to write about. In Module 6, we will have a discussion of your film ideas, and in Module 10, you will choose the two films you will write about. It is mandatory that you decide on the films for your essay by the end of Module 10. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to conduct the thorough research you will need to write a great essay.


Suggested Film-Dedicated Websites for Research

Guidelines for Writing

Your Final Essay should illustrate similarities and differences that you can describe in specific detail. Use verifiable examples from similar scenes in both films. (Providing web links to clips that demonstrate your findings is very helpful.) After examining what is the same and what is different in your films, think about the reasons for these similarities and differences. Once you’ve chosen the early film you want to compare, look to the course modules covering Edison’s early work, the Lumière brothers, and Georges Méliès, and consider how new advances, tools, and aesthetic approaches by the likes of Griffith, Eisenstein, Gance, Ince, and the German expressionists between the 1890s and the 1930s might have influenced the director’s decisions in making the later film.

For example, perhaps in the early film you choose, a moment between two lead characters was shot in a wide, stage-like long take, as we saw in a film like Queen Elizabeth. However, in a 1930s studio-era movie of the same genre, a similar moment was shot with full dialogue, some close-ups, and a moving camera. It will be your job to compare the aesthetics of each story moment and then examine if and how time and technology influenced those aesthetics. Be sure not to concentrate on story or plot, as those are the screenwriter’s tools. Here we are focusing on how the director took the words on the page and made them cinematic. Let us know if you have any questions, and have fun with it!

{{{{For my final essay I believe I will cover the French Cinema in the silent era covering film “The smiling Madame Beudet” and film “Un Chien Audalou”}}}}

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