Essay on Saving Private Ryan

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Due No Later Than Midnight, 4/1/18

Essay: Cinema and Humanities Exploring Realism and The Role of The Director as Auteur

According to our text, the French word “auteur” (or author) is applied to and reserved for significant directors whose unique style and themes are so evident that their work is instantly recognizable (Janaro).

In an essay of no fewer than four pages, follow the two steps below to create a cohesive, well-supported analysis.

Step I:

Explore Steven Spielberg’s 1998 film Saving Private Ryan, discussing his unique imprint on the film in his role of auteur and emphasizing his dedication to realism. When doing so, you should focus on the opening scenes of the movie, and, in particular, be sure to cover:

The value of realistic combat violence;

The worth of filming certain parts on location with many of the original vehicles;

Spielberg’s integration of the other disciplines of the humanities we have covered so far this semester, such as music, art (as manifested by his use of color and lighting), literature and mythology (as portrayed by his depiction of the protagonists in this scene and any heroic archetypes or gestures you observe).

For more ideas, focus on the Week 9 PDF file. Your own insight and articulation on these aspects are enhanced, as always, by critical commentary, including quotes from The Art of Being Human and at least two other sources, such as outside interviews with Spielberg and other directors, film anthologies and reviews, and more.

Step II:

Choose a second movie that relates to war/conflict in some way. You can be as creative as you want in this interpretation (perhaps a main character is ex-military, or maybe the film features a love affair between a soldier and civilian; you also might choose a more overt war film, either from the modern era or the classic ‘40s time period). Explore this film in the same way that you approached Saving Private Ryan, identifying the director and his or her style and discussing the impact of the elements of the humanities on the film.

This second option is entirely up to you, but to give you some ideas, you are welcome to choose from the following:

1. Compare Spielberg’s dedication to realistic combat violence to the strategies used to depict violence employed by Eisenstein in Battleship Potemkin and/or Hitchcock in Psycho or The Birds (described in Chapter 9.) If you choose this option, you must watch and cite at least one of these films and not just the summary of the films!

2. Select another Spielberg film, such as Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, or Schindler’s List, and discuss the continuity and/or evolution of his auteurshipand directorial style, especially with respect to how he treats conflict.

3. Spielberg’s use of realistic combat violence in Saving Private Ryan has profoundly influenced the war movie genre. Describe and analyze at least one war movie that was produced and released after Saving Private Ryanand discuss Spielberg’s influence on that film as compared to war films released prior to 1998. Use interviews and sources to support your interpretation.

Your essay must have:

Proper spelling and formatting (including double-spacing)

A unique title

Parenthetical MLA citations

A Works Cited Page

As always, please contact me with any questions or comments, and also feel free to use our “Basic Skills” link, the MCC writing center, or as resources.

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