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Film Buff Reviews Stuff: A Film Review Blog

Description

This creative project centers on creating evaluative writing about film, in the form of a film review blog. Preliminary writing was done, in which the distinction was made between critical film writing and movie reviewing, as well as an analysis

This creative project centers on creating evaluative writing about film, in the form of a film review blog. Preliminary writing was done, in which the distinction was made between critical film writing and movie reviewing, as well as an analysis of how film critics have honed in their criticism and what makes their content effective for their audience. The rest of the writing for this project consists of a total of 15 reviews for 15 different movies released in 2017 and 2018. In these reviews, there is a brief introduction of the plot and context in which the film is made, followed by an evaluative analysis of what made the film effective or ineffective in achieving its artistic goals. The reviews involve an amalgamation of the content and topics taught in the Film and Media Studies program at Arizona State University, from screenwriting to cinematography. This process of writing reviews and being edited by the Director and Second Reader allows for the opportunity to find a unique writing voice and create content that is accessible for the wide audience that would be reading the work. All of the writing completed for this project (except for the "My Favorite Film Critics" piece) is compiled together in a WordPress blog, in an easily readable and accessible format. The blog itself serves as a way to reach the desired audience, as well as entice them to engage with the writing and the films being written about. This includes providing images and trailers for each respective film, to add a visual component to the writing. The final product is a unique way to engage with the content taught in the Film and Media Studies program, while simultaneously building a portfolio of writing that will be expanded upon and continued in the future.

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Date Created
2018-05

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"After Papa Died": A Mexican-American Autobiography Annotated and Edited by Shea Van Slyke

Description

Zoraida Ladrón de Guevarra was born in 1936 in Coyula, Mexico, a small village in the state of Oaxaca. Her father’s passing required Zoraida to find a job at age fourteen to support her family. Her story, a 200-page memoir

Zoraida Ladrón de Guevarra was born in 1936 in Coyula, Mexico, a small village in the state of Oaxaca. Her father’s passing required Zoraida to find a job at age fourteen to support her family. Her story, a 200-page memoir entitled “After Papa Died,” follows Zoraida’s time as a servant and eventual nanny in Veracruz. Flashing back to memories of her hometown and the people living in it, the story ends before she enters America first as a visitor in 1954, and later on a working Visa in 1957—the first woman in her village to leave to the United States. Hers is a story relevant today, evident with the paradoxes explored between poverty and riches, patriarchy and matriarchy, freedom and captivity. Assimilation impacts the reading of this memoir, as Zoraida began writing the memoir in her 80s (around fifty years after gaining American citizenship). This detailed family history is about the nature of memory, community, and in particular, the experience of being an immigrant. This thesis project centers on this text and includes three components: an edited memoir, informational interviews, and an introduction. Beginning as a diary steeped in the tradition of oral history, the memoir required a “translation” into a written form; chapters and chronological continuity helped with organization. Topics of interest from the story, such as identity, domestic violence, and religion, are further explored in a series of interviews with Zoraida. The inclusion of an introduction to the text contextualizes the stories documented in the memoir with supplemental information. The contents of the project are housed on a website: alongwaybabyproject.net.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Cyborg Feminism: Ambiguity and Hybridity of the Female Cyborg

Description

A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among

A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among women, cyborg feminism moves beyond naturalism and essentialism to acknowledge complex, individual, and ever-changing identity. Three films, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2015), all offer such a vision of the female cyborg. In these films, the cyborg subject is a composite of machine and human—sometimes physical, dependent on the corporal mixing of flesh and machine, but just as often mental. Human sentiment, human memories, and human emotion merge with mechanical frames and electronic codes/coding to produce cyborgs. Importantly, every main cyborg in these films is coded as female. For each cyborg, a female body hosts preprogrammed sexuality and the emotions each creator thinks a woman should have, whether those are empathy, compassion, or submissiveness.

The cyborgs in these films, however, refuse to let categorizations like female, or even their status as human, alive, or real, restrict them so easily. As human-robot hybrids, cyborgs bridge identities that are assumed to be separate and often oppositional or mutually exclusive. Cyborgs reveal the structures and expectations reified in gender to suggest that something constructed can as easily be deconstructed. In doing so, they create loose ends that leave space for new understandings of both gender and technology. By viewing these films alongside critical theory, we can understand their cyborgs as subversive, hybrid characters. Accordingly, the cyborg as a figure subverts and fragments the coherency of narratives that present gender, technology, and identity in monolithic terms, not only helping us envision new possibilities but giving us the faculties to imagine them at all.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Victor and Vanquished: An Examination of Divergent Post-WWII Film Movements in Germany, Italy, and the United States

Description

History and art have always had an intersecting relationship, and each helps us to acquire a better understanding of the other, since artistic works help us to visualize the zeitgeist of a particular point in history. The connection between art

History and art have always had an intersecting relationship, and each helps us to acquire a better understanding of the other, since artistic works help us to visualize the zeitgeist of a particular point in history. The connection between art and history is most apparent when the radical changes that befall society through historically important events, especially conflict, are followed by sweeping changes in society, which trickle their way down into the minds of artists and creators, whose works subsequently reflect these changes. We cannot understand these works and their relationship to their respective period of time simply by isolating them into individual components like art style, artist, and location. They are socially and historically charged, part of a larger network of intersecting relationships that factor in concepts like ideology, material, and culture. We can examine the analytical power of this framework, better known as actor network theory, in a post-WWII European landscape, a period heightened by rapid social changes as the citizens of the formerly war-torn continent worked to rebuild and recover. When examining the artistic output of vanquished nations, mainly Italian neorealist films and German Trümmerfilmen, in a framework built around the principles established in actor network theory, we can see how the historical, political, social, and cultural developments established in the wake of European fascism’s unceremonious collapse is reflected on film when compared to the victorious United States, whose infrastructure and film industry remained mostly unscathed.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Commodifying Asian Aesthetics and Eliminating Asian Bodies: Misrepresentations of Asianness in Science Fiction Film and Television

Description

This work examines three common practices—yellowface in Cloud Atlas (2012), whitewashing in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and absence in Firefly (2002)—employed in popular science fiction that represent Asianness and disregard the Asian body. Though the creators purport to have

This work examines three common practices—yellowface in Cloud Atlas (2012), whitewashing in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and absence in Firefly (2002)—employed in popular science fiction that represent Asianness and disregard the Asian body. Though the creators purport to have progressive ideals at the center of their production choices, their works call on Techno-Orientalist and Orientalist tropes and divorce them from the Asian body, implicitly continuing the Orientalist argument of Western supremacy even in representing Asianness.

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Date Created
2017-05

De aquí, de allá, de las dos: Three Women's Language Learning Journeys from Mexico to Arizona

Description

The purpose of this study is to document and analyze three women's English language learning journeys after moving from various parts of Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona. The study explores the effects of English as a Second Language (ESL) education on

The purpose of this study is to document and analyze three women's English language learning journeys after moving from various parts of Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona. The study explores the effects of English as a Second Language (ESL) education on the social and cultural development of Mexican women students at Friendly House, whose mission is to "Empower Arizona communities through education and human services". The literature review section explores such topics as the complications and history of Mexican immigration to Phoenix and of state-funded ESL education in Phoenix. The consequent research study will entail a pair of interviews with the three beginner ESL students about their lives in Mexico compared to their lives in Phoenix, with a specific focus on aspects of their language acquisition and cultural adjustment to life in Arizona. Photos of and by the consultants add to their stories and lead to a discussion about the implications of their experiences for ESL teachers. By documenting the consultants' experiences, this study finds many gaps in ESL education in Phoenix. Suggestions about how ESL programs and teaching methods can be modified to fit student's needs form the basis for the conclusions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2018-05

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The Immigrant Experience

Description

Immigration policy in the United States today is complex and far-encompassing. This project aims to present it in an easily accessible way: Through the eyes of those who have experienced its effects in a deeply personal manner. This online project,

Immigration policy in the United States today is complex and far-encompassing. This project aims to present it in an easily accessible way: Through the eyes of those who have experienced its effects in a deeply personal manner. This online project, housed at http://immigrant-experience.com/, includes profiles of four people who have immigrated to the United States from other countries. The website includes graphics and multimedia elements, that help to tell their stories. It also provides information about immigration statistics, research and policy. The DREAMer who came to the country as a child, the young Mexican man on a seasonal visa, and the Eritrean refugee share in the immigrant experience, but the effects of U.S. policy on their lives are vastly different. Factors at play include age, education, country of origin and socioeconomic status. These factors are what shape the policy that dictates whether an immigrant can become an American citizen. They are also what make Gloria, Adrian and Azarya's stories so unique. It is a multitude of personal stories that collectively define the immigrant experience. These stories may be drastically different, depending on the country of origin and circumstances of each individual, but some aspects of the experience are shared. The difficulties inherent in uprooting oneself from a familiar community are common to "immigrants" of all shapes and sizes: students moving out of state for college, new hires moving to a new city, parents moving their children into a better neighborhood, etc. Through in-depth profiles of immigrants from a wide variety of backgrounds, this project highlights those shared experiences while showing the diversity of personal stories, challenging contemporary stereotypes about immigrant populations.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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Unathorized: A Short Film on Technology and Immigration

Description

Unauthorized confronts the relationship between technology and personhood in the modern world. More specifically, it addresses the personal and social effects of border politics within the frame of cyber crime. The short film takes place in the near future where

Unauthorized confronts the relationship between technology and personhood in the modern world. More specifically, it addresses the personal and social effects of border politics within the frame of cyber crime. The short film takes place in the near future where a hacker can create citizenship for anyone she wants, effectively turning anyone into a legal person in the United States. This parallels the real life struggles of unauthorized immigrants trying to gain a new life this side of the border despite the overwhelming backlash from the conservative and xenophobic population. The main character's ability to grant citizenship forces the viewer to confront what being a person really means. The film also alludes to the popularized antics of modern day hackers and whistleblowers who are often turned into heroes for fighting the establishment despite their character flaws. The protagonist of Unauthorized struggles through underhanded sexism and blatant racism as well as her own personal struggles with drug addiction and failed relationships. These are very real struggles women face in technology jobs and life in general. The main character's actions ultimately destroy every relationship that she's established, including the connection to her own family. This film, in short, is about the walls people build between each other, both physical and social.

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Created

Date Created
2016-05

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Holding Out for a Hero: The Evolution of the Superhero Genre in Post-9/11 America

Description

This thesis aims to analyze and explain the resurgence of the superhero genre, particularly in recent cinema, directly following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It will also deconstruct the current American political landscape and define how popular culture

This thesis aims to analyze and explain the resurgence of the superhero genre, particularly in recent cinema, directly following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It will also deconstruct the current American political landscape and define how popular culture has historically reflected real-world issues. The study draws heavily on the political ideology of neoliberalism and Henry Jenkins' media theory of convergence culture. I ultimately argue in the course of the analysis that viewers of these superhero films, regardless of their interest in comic books, cathartically release their fears and post-9/11 anxiety through cinematic escapism. It will also relay the evolution of the superhero in the last seventy years as a way to show the effects current events have on popular culture and history, using Captain America and Iron Man as examples of shifting American values.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Film Reviews: A Complete Look at the 2015 Oscar Nominated Films

Description

My name is Adriana Becerra and I am a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. In hoping to combine my two passions of journalism and film, for my Honors Undergraduate Thesis

My name is Adriana Becerra and I am a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. In hoping to combine my two passions of journalism and film, for my Honors Undergraduate Thesis project I created my own film review website. My website is a complete review of the films that were nominated for the 2015 Oscars in the following categories: Best Picture, Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, Foreign Language, and Short Film Live Action. In all, I watched and reviewed a total of twenty-eight films based on acting, lighting, music, cinematography, costume/makeup/set design, writing, and visual effects. Over the course of nine months, I have watched, reviewed, and talked extensively about each film that I have reviewed. Though tedious at times, I thoroughly enjoyed completing my Undergraduate Thesis Project. I hope to continue critically looking at films, and possibly even incorporating film in my journalistic career.

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Created

Date Created
2016-05