Movie: Paris is Burning
•You are expected to draw upon the weekly readings that relate to your chosen essay
topic AND find other relevant academic sources.
•You are expected to refer to at least four academic sources beyond the required unit
readings (these can include the recommended readings already listed on iLearn)
• Please use the Harvard style of referencing
• Please see the rubric available on iLearn for detailed assessment criteria
Essays that are submitted late will be penalised according to current university policy. This
means that 2 marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for essays submitted after the due
date. Students who have documentation of illness or other serious, unexpected, and
unavoidable disruption, and require an extension, need to apply through the MQ disruption
to studies site: http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/exams/disruption_to_studies/
It is in your interest to use the following as a checklist before submitting your
• Does the essay have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion?
• Does the introduction outline the points of the body of your essay?
• Does the introduction contain a clearly articulated argument or thesis?
• Is the language clear, concise, and appropriate for an academic essay?
• Is your punctuation correct?
• Are your apostrophes where they should be?
• Do you refer to the set readings in your essay?
• Does the essay demonstrate thorough research and reference appropriate academic
material beyond the set readings?
• Does the essay present a coherent and well-supported argument?
• Is there evidence of critical engagement with the set course material?
• Is the essay referenced correctly using the Harvard Style?
• Is the Works Cited list presented correctly?
• Have you proof-read it?
• Have you kept a copy of it?
• Is the topic/question, along with the title, and author of essay clearly stated at the top of
the first page?
• Have you used 12 pt font size and Times New Roman?
Choose one of the following essay topics.
Your essay MUST contain a clear argument.
1. Argue (or argue against) how EITHER Gilda OR Orlando can be seen as a feminist
film. (For this question, choose only ONE of these two films).
2. Pedro Almodóvar’s Todo Sobre Mi Madre [All About My Mother] self-reflexively
explores the genre of melodrama. Discuss how All About My Mother borrows from,
and reinvents, the conventions of melodrama.
3. According to Ezra and Sillars, Caché [Hidden] is a film ‘about waiting and watching’
(2007, p. 215). Discuss how Hidden constructs the act of looking and its importance
to the narrative theme and structure.
4. Paul Gilroy writes that Caché [Hidden] “seemed to offer only a shallow,
pseudopolitical, or perhaps more accurately an antipolitical, engagement with
profound contemporary problems that deserve – or demand – better treatment than
an elaborate exercise in mystification can provide” (2007, p. 233). Do you agree with
5. Warwick Thornton describes Samson and Delilah as ‘sparse storytelling’. Discuss how
the formal qualities of Samson and Delilah relate to the themes of the film.
6. Considering the debates about documentary offered by Bill Nichols and John Izod &
Richard Killborn, discuss Stories We Tell as an example of documentary film practice.
7. Argue (or argue against) how EITHER All About My Mother OR Paris is Burning
demonstrate that gender is performative. (For this question, choose only ONE of
these two films).
8. Dancer in the Dark has been celebrated for its innovative use of popular cinematic
formulas. Discuss how Dancer in the Dark appropriates, and experiments with, the
formal qualities of film and/or genre conventions.
I strongly encourage you to re-watch a film (or parts of it) for your final essay:
– Cachè [Hidden] is available on Kanopy
– Samson and Delilah is available on Kanopy and STAN
– Orlando is currently available on SBS on Demand
– Paris is Burning is available on Netflix
– Stories we Tell is available on Kanopy and STAN
– Dancer in the Dark is available on Kanopy