Your Research


Please complete this Google Form to outline your initial ideas for the comparative project.

Recording Your Research

Over the next week in lessons and for independent study you must conduct some independent research into:

  • Your film focus
  • Your two films

You need to aim to find approx 5 research sources that helped you understand your film focus and analyse your own films/sequences using that approach:

These sources should include:

  1. A quote from the teachers’ research notes.
  2. Reviews of your films
  3. One Book
  4. Magazine articles
  5. Websites
  6. Other video essays

This research must be recorded and referenced using the Harvard System.

One way in which you can record this research is to use a slide show, with a slide per source. Here is a slide show template you can use.

Film Theory


Research one of the following film theories:

  • Feminist Film Theory
  • Marxist Film Theory
  • Soviet Montage
  • Structuralism & Film
  • Postmodern Film

  1. Find a short definition that sums up the theoretical approach.
  2. Name  an important theorist.
  3. Identify 3 films which are considered important within that theory.
  4. Identify 3 recent films which might be explored using the theory.
Our Research

Film Movements

Watch this

From this video choose one film movement which you would like to learn more about.

Find a secondary research source that introduces and explain the film movement you have chosen and list 5 films that came out of your film movement.

Write a one sentence definition for that film movement, which describes it’s look and intentions.

  1. British New Wave
  2. Scandinavian Revival
  3. Japanese Golden Age
  4. New Queer Cinema
  5. Third Cinema
  6. Italian Neorealism
  7. German Expressionism
  8. Soviet Montage – ME
  9. Golden Age of Hollywood
  10. La Nouvelle Vague
Our Research

Film Genre & Style

Genre Analysis

Sound easy? Well it is! Genre analysis is done in three steps.

1 Define the corpus.

That is, agree on a group of films that you think are ‘pure’ example of the genre.

This definition may be done in combination with secondary research.

So: Fantasy Corpus:

  1. Lord of the Rings
  2. Harry Potter
  3. Shrek
2 Decide what features of those films are conventional in terms of their genre.
This Theoretical Process is Outlined Here

This means agreeing on a Repertoire of Elements, which are similar across the corpus and indeed necessary for a film to be given a genre label. In this case ‘Fantasy Film’.

An Example analysis of the fantasy genre

3 Analyse your text using those defined conventions

Once you’ve defined those conventions, you need to consider how far your film is similar and/or different compared to those conventional features.

So, after all that, your film focus genre question becomes…

What are the generic conventions of a given genre and how similar and/or different is a given film?

Choosing a Personal Movie


Choose three films you would love to study.

Some advice:

  1. Avoid big franchises movies
  2. Use films that have been on your watch list for a while.
  3. Find films which have won awards or been critically well received.
  4. Find directors who go against the mainstream. Who are working as independents.
  5. Think of the sorts of films we have studied on the course.
  6. Choose films by a director you admire
  7. Perhaps a foreign language film?


You cannot choose a film we have studied together during the course or in any other part of your IB studies (Extended Essay). So that means Pan’s Labyrinth, The Dark Knight, Nosferatu, Let The Right One In & all the films we studies for the textual analysis are off limits!

Some ideas:


The Comparative Study

Key Information

Here is the guidance  from the IB Film Specification Guide

The Comparative Video Essay.

Here is the assessment criteria

 Dates and Deadline
  • Script Deadline – Monday 26th November
  • Draft 1 Deadline – Monday 10th December
  • Final Deadline – Friday 21st December
Week 1
  • Introduction to film focus:
    • Genre & Style
    • Film Theory
    • Film Movements
  • Select Focus Film and/or Film Focus
Week 2
  • Select comparative film & film focus
    • Comparative film must have different cultural context.
  • Research into movement, theory, genre…
  • Research into focus film (critical reception)
  • Teacher meeting 1.
    • Develop research question
Week 3
  • Scripting
  • Assembling task components
Week 4
  • Teacher meeting 2 – Group Seminars
    • Read / discuss draft scripts
Week 5
  • Record Commentary
  • Assembly video
  • Draft 1
Week 6
  • Teacher meeting 3
    • Formative Feedback
Week 7
  • Final Draft & Deadline

Textual Analysis Research

Links to the Films

Your Initial Response

Complete one of these documents in preparation

Context / Film Research.

You’ve got one week to conduct the research necessary to help you understand your chosen film:

  • Character Representation
  • Narrative
  • Genre
  • Visual Style
  • Historical Context
  • Critical Reception (Reviews)

By the end of the week you will submit a proposed sequence from your film as well as an essay question which will help you focus on the sequence as well as link your ideas to the whole film. You should take a copy of this document to record the research that you undertake this week.

Some Sources to Get you Started

Days of Heaven

Lighting in Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven Close Analysis

Reference: Zucker, C. (2001) ‘ “God Don’t Even Hear You,” or Paradise Lost: Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven.”’, Literature Film Quarterly, 29(1), p. 2.


Nerdwriter (Animating Light)

20 Years of Japanese Cinema – Media Magazine Article

Reference: Ramey, M, 2009. Cinema of Japan. Media Magazine, 27, 7-12.

La Haine

Structure, culture and cinematography.

Ghetto Culture – Media Magazine Article

Reference:  Turner, P, 2011. Ghetto Culture. Media Magazine, 35, 19-22.


The first thing you will do once you’ve selected your chosen film is conduct some research into the film.

This must be done independently, your teacher cannot do this for you. However, we will share our findings in film focused seminars during the week after the screenings:

  • 26th – 28th September.

Your teachers have done some research into the following broad macro areas:

  • Film Analysis & Motifs
  • Filmmakers (Auteur)
  • Genre
  • Narrative
Task 1

Read through teachers’ the research document and identify one quote from each section that you think you could drop into a textual analysis essay

You should use this use document to copy in the quote, cite the reference (given in the document) and explain how this might be used in your textual analysis.

Task 2 – Context Research

When you do your own research in the week after the screening, you should find most/all of the following research sources to help you understand the macro and context of the film as understood by others. For 28 Days we have found them for you and they are listed below the sub heading.

Blogs / Websites (Detailed Analysis)

We have also got the ‘Beyond Hammer: British Horror Cinema Since 1970’ James Rose. There is a useful chapter in book this on 28 Days Later. 

We are going to power read this chapter on 28 Days Later and identify some of the key ideas discussed.

Click the image to read the article…

Video Essays

Now You See It. (2016). What Are We Afraid Of? Societal Fears Reflected in Film. [Online Video]. 13 November 2016. Available from: [Accessed: 14 September 2018].

Refresh your Brain

There are three key areas to any textual analysis essay:

  • Micro Features Analysis (within your chosen 5 minute sequence)
  • Macro Features Analysis (within the whole film)
  • Cultural Context Analysis (the wider significance surrounding the film / content)

We have two weeks to review what we already know and fill any gaps in your understanding and application.

Essential Macro Features
  • Genre
  • Narrative
  • Representation
The Feynman Technique

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.


The class will be working in two halves and each of those halves will have one of the terms to define and apply. Follow this link to the slideshows that you will be working on.

Task 1
  • Using the Feynman Technique to define what is meant by one of these terms and how they can be used to analyse a film.
  • Define and explain the concept simply in one slide of your shared slideshow.
    • You should use the blog to help you.
Task 2
  • In pairs or threes discuss one of these ideas to, 28 Days Later (2002) Boyle.
  • Evaluate and analyse 28 Days Later using that macro feature.
Task 3

Embed the slideshow into: reflective journal>exploring film>28 Days Later

Compiling Your Video Essay

There are two possible essay titles for your video.

  1. How and with what effect are specific film elements of German expressionism used within a contemporary horror film?
    1. This essay is asking you to define German expressionism as well as explain how this film movement had a distinctive visual style; you should use scenes from Nosferatu to illustrate your ideas.
      • You should use some contextual detail from the period/culture in Germany to explain how Expressionism came to the fore.
    2. In the second part of the essay you should use Let The Right One In to show how that style is still used in horror movies today.
  2. From Nosferatu to Eli. How has the representation of the vampire changed to suit contemporary values, attitudes and beliefs?
    • The second essay asks you to explore the representation of the two vampire characters. Remember the key to a representation essay is twofold:
      1. What ideologies (values, attitudes, beliefs (fears)) from the period / cultural that made the film are communicated through these ‘monsters’.
      2. How is this ideology communicate through micro features in key scenes.

The work we have done over the last few weeks was designed to help you answer these questions:

Question 1:
Question 2: 
Task: Compile Your Video Essay

The means that you need to plan your video essay and bring together all the materials that you are going to use to answer one of the two questions.

  • Review the research we conducted last week.
    • What ideas (quotes) do you want to drop in to your video essay?
      • You should aim for 3-5 quotes ideas taken from your research
    • Make sure you reference the name of the book and author in the essay.
    • You must also compile a bibliography for your essay (a list of your research sources), which you should submit next to your essay in your Reflective Journal.
  • Select the examples from the films that you going to use in the essay?
    • Choose 2-3 scene from each film and within those scenes select approx 15-30 second clips.
  • What terms do you need to use to describe these examples?
  • What is the meaning implied, suggested or illustrated in your example?
  • How will you link the TEAS to the significance?
    • This means going back to the question, which should be at the top of your video essay & bibliography.

You should have written a script before you edit. You will be recording this script later this week and will be editing to the script.