ENG 3140 Oral Presentation Assignment Outline

Marks: 20% of the Final Grade (10% content; 10% style)

Length: 10-15 minutes in addition to 5 minutes for discussion (please observe time limits)

Purposes: (1) to demonstrate the variety and pervasiveness of apocalyptic motifs in contemporary film (2) to identify, analyze and explain the visual composition of an apocalyptic scene and the function of apocalyptic images, characters, and/or narratives within the historical/cultural context in which the film was first released (or re-made in some cases) (3) to continue to develop presentation skills.

Suggested Process/Format:

(1) meet with one or two other people to choose a topic (2) the topic should focus on one film, the visual composition of a specific apocalyptic scene or shot within the film , and the cultural significance of the film within its context. Alternatively, a similar sequence or visual image in two different films or two versions of the same film could be compared/contrasted, but be specific (3) have a short conversation with me about the topic (note: this conversation is not optional) (4) choose a date by signing the sheet that will be circulating (4) engage in research and analysis. Each presentation should consist of three parts: (a) an overview of the film, its genre, and its cultural context. Avoid summarizing the director’s background unless it is pertinent to explain the relationship of the film to its historical/cultural context (b) an analysis of a specific apocalyptic motif, scene, or shot and its visual composition. How does the director use the camera, music, colour, editing, etc. to create a specific impression, mood, or idea? This could include comparisons with other similar shots, scenes, or motifs in other works. What accounts for the similarities and differences between different works? Be specific (c) speculation/theory about the cultural meaning/significance of this film. This will include references to a critical essay, theoretical discussion, etc. What does the film or shot/sequence tell us about the culture in which it was created? (4) provide the class with a one page outline of the presentation, including Works Cited references. This will help avoid reading to the class and encourage discussion (5) I will hand back an evaluation sheet within a week.

Possible Questions to Consider

(1)    What psychological and/or historical conditions, if any, make apocalyptic thinking possible, probable, or necessary?

(2)    Whose race, class, and/or gender interests are served and how are these interests revealed in the film? Does the film in some way reinforce those in power while marginalizing others?

(3)    Apocalyptic literature often makes use of the grotesque and the monstrous. What images of the grotesque and the monstrous do you notice and what do the images tell us about the filmmaker’s view of what is permissible to exclude and to demonize?

(4)    What images, characters, and narratives are recurrent in apocalyptic narratives? How and why are the motifs adapted in different works? What is the cultural meaning or significance of these changes?

(5)     What philosophical issues (ethics, theory of language, epistemology, etc.) arise from the film?

(6)     What speculative scenario is used and how is it related to the filmmaker’s contemporary world? Is the scenario meant to satirize something about the present?