I have used B & T before (although Film History rather than Film Art), but one book I found to be especially useful in terms of techniques for essay writing is Bernard F. Dick, Anatomy of Film, NY, St. Martin's Press (1990) 0-312-01991-2 (paperback).  It includes an appendix entitled 'Sample student paper' which will give students some idea of what a 500 to 1,000 word piece on film criticism might look like.  My only caveat is that the paper (and the whole book) uses American English spellings - where I taught they were not allowed in assessed student work - but this will not be a problem at a US institution...

The alternative, of course, is to give them bugger all, especially before they do their very first piece of written work, in order to get an idea of where people's strengths and weaknesses lie.  In the very first taught session of my MA course, Charles Barr showed us the opening reel of THE LION HAS WINGS, then told us to write about it - anything we liked - for half an hour afterwards.  I think it would be fair to say that all of us wrote very different things and that all of us found the feedback a lot more useful than if we'd been given a structured essay question.

I guess that such an approach might un-nerve an undergrad who is not a film major, but the little darlings are allegedly at University to be challenged, have their outlooks broadened &c. &c., not just to be spoon fed with 'how to write a lit crit essay about films in six easy lessons'.


Leo Enticknap
Projection and Sound Engineer
City Screen Cinemas Ltd., London, UK
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