In this assignment, you’ll practice writing two important types of sentences for your Film Research and Analysis assignment:

  1. a thesis sentence for your essay
  2. a topic sentence for each paragraph

Refer to Writing About Movies, chapters 7 and 8, on “Developing Your Thesis” and on “Considering Structure and Organization,” respectively, for guidance.

Thesis Sentence

A thesis sentence should not be a description of your topic nor should it be a summary of the film.

A thesis sentence should include your evaluation of the film.

  • What is this film about?
  • How do you interpret the film?
  • Is your evaluation faithful to entire film, not just a specific scene or sequence?

Thesis Sentence Assignment Prompt

Write a one-sentence thesis sentence about a film we’ve covered in class. Your thesis sentence should include:

  • your focused and specific evaluation of the film
  • an ordered list of topics that demonstrate this evaluation and can also function as the structure of the film

Thesis Sentence Example

Laws of Gravity presents the masculinity of the characters in this film as a series of fatal flaws: the characters sabotage their lives with an explosive sense of pride, with a propensity for violence, and by repeatedly making poor decisions.

Topic Sentence

Each paragraph requires a topic sentence.

  • A topic sentence declares a single point of the argument
  • A topic sentence relates the paragraph to the thesis
  • A topic sentence is located at the beginning of the paragraph
  • Every sentence in the paragraph relates to the topic sentence

Topic Sentence Assignment Prompt

Write a topic sentence for a paragraph that is part of your shot/sequence analyses.

The paragraph should be about a sequence of the film that does one of the following tasks:

  • describes the sequence and its meaning to overall meaning of the film, or
  • analyzes a specific formal element used in this sequence, or
  • analyzes a cultural dimension represented in this sequence

Topic Sentence Example

The topic sentence is set in bold type to clearly show you that this is the topic sentence. You should never set your essay’s topic sentences in bold type. Note that my last sentence also summarizes the paragraph, but does not act like a topic sentence.

In the sequence where Jon confronts Celia, the camerawork in this represents Jon’s propensity to violence as a flaw with serious consequences. In this scene, Celia is walking on a street, talking with her friend. The camera pans to show Jon quickly approaching from behind. When he confronts them, the camera stops to capture the conflict as the women try to escape Jon as he persistently accosts them. The shots are interrupted by a few cuts to show new characters who try to pacify the situation: first, Denise tries to separate Jon from the women, and, second, the Jimmy physically restrains Jon, eventually throwing him against a metal garage door. The scene ends when the camera quickly pans to the road to show two undercover cops grab Jon, throw him to the ground, and place him under arrest. Jon is in jail because he refused to listen to his friends and escalated “wanting to talk” to a violent confrontation with Celia.

Watch the sequence on CUNY OneDrive