Women in Film: Archetype Assignment
Over the past few weeks, we have watched and discussed films that have featured characters that represent common archetypal images of women in film. We have seen examples of
· the femme fatale (a female version of the villain archetype),
· working mothers (a variation of the mother/maternal archetype),
· rebellious daughters (a variation of the rebel archetype), and
· female action heroes.
For this assignment, describe and analyze specific representations of one of these archetypes in a variety of films. In your analysis, you will consider how the historical, social and political context in which each film you are discussing was made influenced the specific representation of the archetypal character.
This assignment is worth 20% of your final grade.
1) Focus your topic:
a) Choose one of the following archetypes:
· the femme fatale
· the working mother
· the rebellious daughter
· the female action hero
b) Identify specific representations (examples) of the archetype you have chosen in three different films. Choose one example (at least) from one of the films we have watched in the course so far (Mildred Pierce, Imitation of Life, Foxy Brown or Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). Choose two more examples from films you have watched outside this course. Try to select three examples of the archeype from films made in different time periods and/or films made in different countries/cultural contexts.
2) Write a report analyzing the three examples of the archetype you have chosen to focus on. Divide your report into the following sections:
A. Introduction to the Archetype (4 marks)
In your own words, explain the characteristics of the archetype you have chosen. In other words, how do you recognize examples of this archetype when you see them in films? Describe the
· physical characteristics
· strengths and weakness
· other relevant features of social identity – e.g. race, gender expression, ability/disability, socio-economic status/class, sexuality
that are associated with the archetype you have chosen. You do not need to address all of the criteria listed above in your description; include the information that is most relevant to the archetype you have chosen.
Note: If you use ideas from other sources – including course materials and readings – make sure you document each source with both in-text references and full references at the end of the report.
B. Discussion of specific examples/representations of the archetype (4 marks for each representation = 12 marks total)
Using your own words, identify and describe each of the three examples/
representations of the archetype you have chosen.
For each example of the archtype you have chosen,
· identify the character you have chosen and the film in which the character appears; and briefly describe the character’s role in the film.
· describe a specific scene from the film in which the character exemplifies the archetype she represents (make sure your in-text reference includes the time-stamp for the scene)
· explain how the character represents (or embodies) the archetype, referring to characteristics portrayed in the scene you described AND in the rest of the film
· identify any ways that the character does NOT conform to expectations for the archetype. Be specific about the characters deviates from/defies/
challenges the “norms” of the archetype (refer to significant details scenes/moments)
· explain how the social and political context in which the film was made may have influenced the way the character is represented.
C) Analysis the examples of the archetype (4 marks)
Answer the following questions about your three examples of the archetype:
· What do all three examples of the archetype you have chosen share in common?
· What do these similarities suggest about the social function of this archetype? In other words, what “message” do all three examples of this archetype send to viewers about this “type” of woman?
· In what specific ways are the three examples of the archetype you have chosen different?
· What do these differences reveal about the social function/message of each particular example of the archetype?
Length and Format:
Your assignment will be between 3 and 5 pages long, and must be typed and doubled spaced. Use the headings above to organize your assignment.
As stated in the course outline, assignments that are submitted late without previous discussion with the professor with lose one mark per late day.
Please review these guidelines and the assignment rubric to ensure you are meeting all requirements.
Remember, you must document all sources including film clips using APA-style in-text and full references.