Culture and Development Film Essay

Culture and Development Film Essay

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The goal of this exercise is to write a 3 page double-­-spaced short essay based on a documentary that interacts with culture and development.You will write a short

analytical essay that discusses a specific development issue by analyzing a documentary.

Culture and Development Film essay

Winter 2015


The goal of this exercise is to write a 3 page double-­-spaced short essay based on a documentary. You can pick any documentary that interacts with culture and


The main goal of this assignment is to inspire you to develop a deeper understanding of an actual development issue that is addressed in a documentary.

It is crucial to understand that the assignment is not meant to be a review of a documentary. You will write a short analytical essay that discusses a specific

development issue by analyzing a documentary. You have to clarify your main idea(s)/argument(s) in relation to the particular theme that you will focus on. You have to

demonstrate your idea(s) coherently.

-­-You must discuss the particular development issues by integrating certain elements from the documentary. For example, you will extract certain insightful scenes to

analyze socio-­-cultural or political contexts. You can also discuss how the film illustrates key development issues; or demonstrate how the film distorts certain

facts that you would like to address in your essay.

-­-In   order   to   demonstrate   your   main   idea(s)   or   argument(s)

Analytically, you are required to incorporate at least two sources/articles including one academic article. Based on these sources, you must explain the facts

surrounding the issue and analyze the main problems involved. You are highly encouraged to incorporate more than two sources.

Please follow this structure when writing the essay:
1.    Title: Provide an original title to your essay.  Underneath the title in smaller front write the name of the film, the director, and the year.
2.    Introduction:  The argument of the  essay  should  be  clearly stated in the first paragraph. The introduction should layout your main points clearly and

should indicate to the reader the direction of your paper.
3.    Body: This section should be written in an analytical manner where you use your sources to build on your argument. You should also make reference to particular

scenes of the documentary where they may help advance your points.
4.    Conclusion: Provide any concluding observation about the issue you have analyzed.

Citation style:
Use endnotes in the form AUTHOR-­-DATE-­-PAGE. After the endnotes, include a full bibliography. The endnotes and bibliography do not count toward the page limit.

Please note that endnotes come at the end of a text; not at the bottom of the page.

Potential Development themes [these are just examples]
Colonialism, nationalism, Asian values, social networks, caste discrimination, ethnic conflicts, religious violence, Gender inequality, marriage and family,

Reproductive health, Indigenous issues, cultural taboos, labor migration, refugees, environmental crisis, medical tourism, conspicuous consumption, human trafficking

Examples of documentaries:
Ghost of Rwanda (2005): Ethnic violence
Darwin’s Nightmare (2004): Environmental crisis
China Blue (2005): sweatshops and urban-­-rural migration
The Scavengers (2008): caste discrimination
Game Theory (2009): Political activism in China
The Defector: Escape From North Korea (2012): refugees
Crossing Arizona (2006): illegal border-­-crossing between Mexico and the United States
Rabbit Proof Fence (2002): Aboriginal Issue in Australia (A“Lost Generation”)

Useful websites:
1.    PBS Frontline
2.Culture unplugged­-
3. National Film Board
4. CBC

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