Categories
Communication

identity, language, non-verbal codes, cultural adaptation and/or intercultural relationships through cross-cultural film.

use the critical approach to examine course concepts such as identity, language, non-verbal codes, cultural adaptation and/or intercultural relationships through cross-cultural film. You will select and watch a film that features intercultural relationships and topics.
Guidelines
The goal of this short paper is to use the critical approach to examine course concepts such as identity, language, non-verbal codes, cultural adaptation and/or intercultural relationships through cross-cultural film. You will select and watch a film that features intercultural relationships and topics.
For this assignment, you will:
Select and watch any one film from the list below, or another cross-cultural film of your choice that you can easily access (please ask if you’d like other recommendations; do not select the assigned films – In My Country or Just Mercy – or the film described in the example below – Gran Torino).
Analyze and interpret that film from an intercultural communication research perspective, using at least two relevant theories and/or concepts from the course (paying special attention to chapters 5-10).
The selected concepts should be specific and not too general.
“Nonverbal communication” is too vague to serve as a concept for this paper; instead, focus on a specific aspect of nonverbal communication, like proxemics or chronemics.
“Verbal communication” is too vague, but co-cultural communication theory or code switching would be appropriate course concepts.
“Identity” is too general, but minority identity development is suitable.
“Migration” is general, but a specific type of migrant-host relationship would be appropriate.
Locate and use two scholarly sources (scholarly journal article or scholarly book chapter) – the textbook does not count. The scholarly sources should be related to the selected course concepts – one source per primary course concept. The assigned scholarly readings are also excellent to cite, but they will not count. The point is for you to do research on concepts that interest you, and to use the sources you find to help you develop a deeper understanding of the selected course concepts. If the sources also happen to discuss the film you’re analyzing, that’s great, but do not search for scholarly sources on the film – use keywords to search for scholarly sources on your concepts. You may refer to and cite the textbook and assigned scholarly readings, but those citations will not count towards the two scholarly sources you are assigned to locate and use for the film analysis.
Identify and describe macro-contexts and power relations depicted in the film.
Evaluate how the film reinforces or challenges forces of power and oppression. Make an argument for how these representations could be improved or how they are represented appropriately in the film.
Include in this analysis a brief summary of the selected scholarly source and use the source to support your critical analysis. Focus on the key findings from the source rather than on explaining how the author(s) did their study. We need to know what the findings were from that research and how that helps us better understand the concept in relation to the film. Prioritize paraphrasing and avoid direct quotes from the scholarly source, except for a phrase or two where relevant. Always use APA style for both in text citations as well as reference section at the end.
Key Components to Include
Your paper should include the following components:
1. Introduction
Brief introduction that identifies the film you have chosen and why you think it is important to study it from an intercultural communication perspective. Identify the two course concepts used to analyze the film and explain why they are relevant.
2. Plot
Brief summary of the plot/storyline of the film.
3. Critical Analysis
Taking a critical approach, analyze the film in relation to the two selected course concepts that you believe best explain the intercultural ideas, relationships, and complexities highlighted in the film. The strongest papers connect the concepts to show how they impact each other rather than just talking about two different concepts without relating them to each other in the context of the film.
Example 1: You might write about multicultural identity development and theories of adaptation as depicted in the selected film.
Example 2: You might write about co-cultural communication theory and post-colonialism as depicted in the selected film.
Example 3: You might analyze a migrant’s movement along the U-curve or W-curve models of intercultural adaptation and how a migrant’s changing nonverbal behavior like proxemics and/or kinesics reflects their movement along that curve.
Example 4: You may decide to focus on cultural spaces depicted in the film and their meanings for the characters, and cultural variations in communication style among the characters.
Example 5: You may decide to focus on a type of migrant-host relationship and prejudice represented in the film.
Identify and describe macro-contexts and power relations depicted in the film.
Evaluate how the film reinforces or challenges forces of power and oppression. Make an argument for how these representations could be improved or how they are represented appropriately in the film.
Include in this analysis a brief summary of the selected scholarly sources and use this source to support your critical analysis.
4. Conclusion
Summary of the key points made in your film analysis.
5. References
Reference section with APA style citations for the scholarly source(s) cited in the paper.
Paper Outline
Format your paper as follows:
1. Introduction (~1 paragraph)
2. Plot summary (~1 short paragraph)
3. Critical Analysis
Concept #1
Define the concept in your own words and explain, also in your own words, how it’s been explored in scholarly research using selected scholarly source (~1/2 paragraph)
Explain how concept applied to film, refer to scholarly source again (~1/2 paragraph)
Briefly describe 2-4 scenes or moments where concept can be seen operating in the storyline and/or characters’ relationships (~1 paragraph)
Select one of the aforementioned scenes to analyze in depth and explain how the concept applies, briefly refer to scholarly source (~2-3 paragraphs)
Concept #2
Define the concept in your own words and explain, also in your own words, how it’s been explored in scholarly research using selected scholarly source (~1/2 paragraph)
Explain how concept applied to film, refer to scholarly source again (~1/2 paragraph)
Briefly describe 2-4 scenes or moments where concept can be seen operating in the storyline and/or characters’ relationships (~1 paragraph)
Select one of the aforementioned scenes to analyze in depth and explain how the concept applies, briefly refer to scholarly source (~2-3 paragraphs)
Macro-Contexts and Evaluation
Identify and describe macro-contexts and power relations depicted in the film and how they relate to the selected concepts. (~1-2 paragraphs)
Evaluate how the film reinforces or challenges forces of power and oppression. Make an argument for how these representations could be improved or how they are represented appropriately in the film. (~1-2 paragraphs)
4. Conclusion (~1 paragraph)
5. References
Additional Details
The paper should be 1500-1800 words in length with 1-inch margins on all sides and 12-point, Times font and submitted as a Word document. Your paper should be written in the first person. Keep in mind that grammar and spelling count – proofread and spellcheck your work before submitting it. Late papers will not be accepted and will earn 0 points.
List of Recommended Films
(if you are on campus, some of these films are available as DVDs at the library)
Mississippi Masala (1991) – Snell Library (Links to an external site.)
Rabbit Proof Fence (2002) – available on Amazon Video, Hulu, Snell Library (Links to an external site.)
Hotel Rwanda (2004) – available on Amazon Video, Snell Library (Links to an external site.)
Arranged (2007) – available on Netflix; YouTube; Snell Library (watch online) (Links to an external site.)
Cairo Time (2009) – available on Netflix, Hulu
Buen Día, Ramon (2013) – available on Netflix
A Borrowed Identity (2014) – available on Netflix
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) – available on Amazon Video; Snell Library (Links to an external site.)
Viva (2015) – available on Netflix
Front Cover (2015) – available on Netflix, Amazon Video
The African Doctor (2016) – available on Netflix
The Big Sick (2017) – available on Amazon Video; Snell Library (Links to an external site.)
Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – available on Amazon Video; Snell Library (Links to an external site.)
BlacKkKlansmen (2018) – available on Amazon Video
The Farewell (2019) – available on Amazon Video
Example
Plot Summary
The film Gran Torino (2008) tells the story of a surly, old, white American veteran, Walt Kowalski, who lives in a Detroit neighborhood that is experiencing demographic changes. Many of his fellow white, American neighbors have either passed away or moved, and Hmong immigrant/refugee families have been moving in, much to Walt’s displeasure. Throughout the film, though, Walt develops a close friendship with his two teenage neighbors – siblings Sue and Thao Vang Lor.
Concepts Addressed in Film
Some conceptual areas addressed in the film are the individualism-collectivism value orientation, cross-cultural facework, prejudice, ethnocentrism, language (via racial slurs) and their shifting meaning throughout the film, gender dynamics, and cultural spaces.
What Next?
To write the paper, I would –
Select two or three of these concepts, e.g. facework, cultural spaces and/or racial slurs;
Identify specific scenes where these topics are illustrated among the characters and use those to scenes to analyze how the concepts apply and play out in those scenes;
Articulate the connections between the concepts to demonstrate how they relate to each other in the context of the film;
Locate two scholarly sources that address each of my two primary conceptual areas to help deepen my analysis of the film;
Since I am taking a critical approach, I also want to identify macro-contexts (in this case, military history, political contexts, socio-economic, immigration policies, among others) that shape the relationships depicted in the film; and finally
Evaluate how the film does with representing these topics – does it reinforce and/or resist stereotypes, and how could these depictions be improved? For example, I would critique the film for its perpetuation of the white-savior trope (the false notion that people of color need white people to save them) rather than telling a story where people of color have agency.