Film & Theatre studies


Compare Constrast between Life is Beautiful and Schindler’s List

1) TITLE
Create a two-part title that includes the names of the two films you will be comparing, and a short phrase that hints at

your approach to the topic; for example: “Wall-E vs. 2001 A Space Odyssey: Good Robot, Bad Robot”

2) INTRODUCTION
a) Introduce the fact that you will be comparing and contrasting two films.
b) Name the two films, who directed them and the year they were released.
c) Summarize the most basic reason or reasons why you think the two films warrant comparison (for example: “They

are both variations on the same story, produced 25 years apart, so they can shed light on social changes between two

eras.”).
d) List at three questions you will be asking as you compare and contrast the films.
e) (optional) hint at the conclusions you will make at the end of the paper (for example, “By comparing these two

films, we may discover that _________________.”).

3) OVERVIEW OF FILM #1
a) Brief historical background about the film and its director and/or studio (make sure to cite your sources).
b) Logline (one or two sentence summary of the plot).
c) A direct quotation of 1-3 sentences from a film critic about this film, with proper citation (for example, “In

an essay about this film, Roger Ebert writes, “_____________________________” (Ebert).” Additional information about

the source of this quote must be included in the Works Cited section at the end of your paper.
d) A paraphrase from another film critic, in which you will translate his or her ideas into your own words. You

are not required to mention the author’s name in the text, but you must provide proper MLA citation, both in-line and in

the Works Cited section of your paper (see the Citing Sources section of these instructions).
e) Summarize your personal feelings about the film.

4) OVERVIEW OF FILM #2: Apply all of the above items to the second film.

5) PLOT: Compare & contrast the two films in terms of structure (Aristotelian vs. Episodic?), storytelling

techniques (visual vs. verbal?), complexity, use of sub-plots, resolution (happy ending, sad ending, open ending?) and

any other plot elements that come to mind.

6) PROTAGONIST
a) What essential similarities and differences can you find between the main characters in the two films?
b) What are the similarities and differences between the protagonists’ goals?
c) How do the protagonists react similarly or differently to situations they encounter?
d) (Optional) How might each character react differently if he or she were suddenly thrust into the plot of the

opposite film?

7) ANTAGONIST
Compare & contrast the person(s) or thing(s) against which the Protagonist is fighting

8) SUPPORTING CHARACTER
Compare & contrast a supporting character from each film.

9) STYLE
Discuss stylistic similarities & differences you notice between the two films, in areas such as cinematography, camera

movement, color, sound, music and editing

10) SCENE COMPARISION:
a) Identify a scene from each film that has a similar or contrasting scene from the other film.
b) Describe each scene, and then show how their similarities and differences reflect or illuminate the basic

similarities and differences between the two films.

11) THEME: What universal themes do the two films explore? Does each film deal with different themes, or do they

explore the same basic themes in different ways? What big lessons can people learn from these two films?

12) CONCLUSION: Sum up what you have learned by comparing and contrasting the two films.

 

 

 

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