Psycho (Hitchcock 1960)
Read Bloch's Psycho
In-class Essay Prompt from Guide to Writing Papers
Paper 1-Psycho (20 points)
Your analysis of the scene will consist of three parts:
1) The scene you need to analyze shot by shot begins with the blood traveling down the tub basin and ends with Norman inadvertently knocking down the picture from the wall. Describe the scene in film terms employing the technical language of cinema - camera technique, mise en scene, lighting, soundtrack, props, editing, etc. Read the Textbook carefully and appropriately use as many of these terms as you can, such as close-up , lap dissolve , etc. Remember to discuss all aspects of the scene in the order they appear;
2) Discuss what meaning these film techniques reasonably confer via style. You may employ the Textbook to support your points. For example "This scene is shot in a canted angle, meaning that the camera is off of its vertical axis giving us a slanted view of the scene. Typically, this angle implies `a world off kilter (Stylized Moments)." Then go beyond this to provide your own unique and keen insight to what this may mean in the scene. For example "The canted angle here tells us that Radio Raheem is an `off kilter' character about to explode."
3)Analyze this scene in terms of the entire movie. Discuss both large themes in the movie, for eample, coming of age, sexuality, evil, etc. and specific parts of the movie, for example the opening, the climax, the ending - in order to ground your ideas in the movie itself. Make sure you discuss the entire movie with a consideration of how the film ends.
Your grade will be based upon how accurately and consistently you use film terms to analyze the scene, how thoroughly you attend to every aspect of the assigned sequence, how specifically your interpretation follows from the film terms, and finally how insightful and smart your overall interpretation is. You should go point by point through the scene analyzing the techniques in turn, combining parts 1 and 2 as you write. Students often feel overwhelmed that they cannot possibly `read' all of the deep meanings in the scene, but if you concentrate on analyzing specific stylistic techniques, you will do well. I will tend to be more lenient on this first paper as I understand this is your first attempt at analyzing style. You should be creative--be sure to design your own title that reflects upon and extends your thesis--and be speculative, but be specific and thoroughly prove your interpretations by discussing the scene in film language.