University of California Berkeley The official Story Film Analysis

For your final paper you are to write 6-7 pages on one of the following topics.

1-In film The Official Story women occupy the key roles and form the core of the story. Nuestros Desaparecidos : Our Disappeared and Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo are two documentaries which explore the same era and themes as Official Story. These are stories of women and families caught up in a particular moment in time.

You have two options:

Explore one aspect of The Official Story in depth or

Contrast/ compare a theme or aspect with one of the two documentaries (above) where women become empowered. Think about why the films were made? Why was it important to tell these stories? How does the director approach? What happens as the story evolves-are there visual clues, do the characters change? Are the points of view of these stories important-why? How do the women themselves evolve?

2- Like Water for Chocolate is a story about women who experience a life-changing event, a transformation.

Explore one aspect of the film in depth. You may want to discuss the way the women transform/evolve throughout the film or how the story is told. What about the use of food as a metaphor? What devices does the director employ to draw in the viewer? What brings it to life? Look at the performances, the language, the script and how the film is shot. You may use other films from outside of those screened in class as sources or you may want to compare/contrast themes. Among the films are: Babette’s Feast, Chocolat, Eat Drink Man Woman and a number of others that are available at the Media Resource Center.

3- Latin American and U.S. filmmakers saw tremendous artistic and commercial potential in the politics and history of the Americas during the 1980’s and 90’s. Romero took on the national tragedy of the war in El Salvador using the story of the assassination of Archbishop Romero. El Norte follows the journey of two indigenous Guatemalan youngsters to the U.S. Cheech Marin in his comedy, Born in East L.A. takes a humorous look at immigration. Explore one aspect of the film in depth. Perhaps you may want to link it to contemporary events taking place as thousands of refugees from Central America make their way to the US/Mexico border.

Structure: Your essay must contain a thesis (main argument, by using “I argue…”) that you support with a balance of evidence –using scenes, voice over or dialog from the film, readings and your own analysis. Your introduction should contain your topic and the main ideas/themes you will examine and layout a “map” of your paper. The essay should flow and develop in a purposeful manner (sentence/paragraph/overall organization). While you must demonstrate your perspective and how you arrive to your conclusion(s), a successful paper will also be reflexive and offer a larger point or further insight beyond “proving” your thesis. We want to see that you are engaged with the subject of the film, its themes, the filmmaker’s approach, and how it speaks to you. That is, what kinds of connections does the film allow you to make? What questions does it raise for you? Be sure to use scenes from the film to support your themes/ideas.

Format: 6 single-sided pages, typed, double-spaced, standard 12 point font, one inch margin, stapled. Three sources minimum. This includes any additional films as well as readings you have been assigned as well additional readings. We encourage you to use outside readings as well. Make sure you Include a bibliography.

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