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WJEC AS Film Studies FM2 US Cinema Comparative Study: Gilda and L.A.Confidential

Rob Miller | Tuesday September 23, 2014

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS AS, FM2, Section C: US Film Comparative Study, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, American, L.A Confidential, Hollywood Films, Gilda, Genres & Case Studies, Crime, Drama, Film Noir, Mystery, Romance, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Representation


In this section of the exam you will get a choice of one question from two – an absolute must is that you compare and contrast two films, either from the same genre or that both deal with a specific theme. Genre, narrative and representation are key areas of study - see below examples of past questions:

  1. How far do the American films you have studied convey key themes in similar ways?
  2. How far is the representation of characters in the American films you have studied influenced by the times in which the films were made?
  3. Discuss some of the similarities and differences between the two films you have studied for this topic with particular reference to narrative and genre features.
  4. How far do the two films you have studied for this topic present similar messages and values?

Exemplars for Section C (whole sample exam exemplar) are available on FilmEdu comparing Metropolis and Blade Runner but also All That Heaven Allows (1955) and American Beauty (1999) here. This exemplar explores issues of American social class and the American Dream which is the type of approach Section C needs to take with the word ‘comparative’ implicit in the title. The WJEC specification states: “the films selected should enable sufficient comparison and contrast to be made. One way of ensuring this is to select films made at different historical moments.?

Examples given by the exam board as guidance are useful as they illustrate how a historical genre comparison can be undertaken by, for example comparing the 1974 Blaxploitation film Foxy Brown with the Quentin Tarantino intertextual homage, Jackie Brown from 1997 (both starring Pam Grier). Ideas about re-makes can also be explored with the avant-garde French short La Jetee (1962) and 12 Monkeys from 1995 starring Bruce Willis or films with shared themes like Do the Right Thing from 1989 and Crash, 2004 – both films about race relations.

There will be very much be the need to...

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