AHIS 1115 History of Asian Arts I
Film Response Paper
Due March 12, 2022 (online)
For your essay assignment in this class you will write a response to a film.
Film as Text
Written assignments are a response to a given text. Texts are usually written documents, such as
books, manifestos, pamphlets, and so on. A text is any object that can be read. So, in art history
we often use paintings, objects, material culture, and architecture as text. In this assignment, you
will use the assigned film as your text. Thus, you will be reading the film.
What is the film about?
This film introduces you to Nainsukh, a painter in the court of Raja Balwant Singh, where he
uses Mughal painting traditions in local context. By 1707, the Mughal state was in decline and
many artists started to leave Delhi and establish themselves in the courts of surrounding rulers.
They took with them the traditions of the imperial Mughal atelier and started to blend them with
the style of the local regions they traveled to. Nainsukh’s artistic oeuvre is emblematic of this
intermingling. The film is largely without dialogues but sets up multiple tableaus that mimic
How to write a Film Response paper?
In any assignment the first and most important objective is to state an argument. So, begin with
an introductory paragraph that introduces the reader (i.e. me, your instructor) to your primary
aim is in this paper.
Next, you should provide a brief summary of the film. This can serve as a starting point to
understanding the film and the historical period in which it is set. You may use any of the
sources on Brightspace or you may choose to search for other sources and contextualize the film
vis-à-vis its historical period. Contextualization allows you to set the stage to proving your
argument. You might consider the following questions when summarizing:
• Who is the author (or rather director) of this work and why are they making this film?
• Is your summary informative?
• What are the main points of the film and what are its supporting points?
• You may use scenes from the film to support and illustrate your ideas.
• Do not spend a lot of time or detail discussing one aspect of the film, remember this is a
brief summary that gives the reader an overview of the film.
• Finally, keep the summary objective and factual. State only what the director shows you.
This section is not about your opinion.
Finally, provide an analysis of the film. This is usually based on your reaction to the work. You
must connect the film (or particular scenes from it) to your argument. Remember, you are using
the film as evidence to prove a point that you stated at the beginning of the response paper. The
following questions might help you as you analyze the film:
• How is the film related to the ideas and concerns discussed in this class? Do the readings
and other assigned material allow you better examine the film?
• How is the film related to questions of the artist’s agency and artistic patronage?
• What response do you have to the film? For example, what emotions does it arouse in
• Why do you think it arouses those particular emotions in you?
• Does the film increase your understanding of the historical period and its artistic
practice? Does it change your perspective in any way?
• Evaluate the merit of the film: the importance of story, its accuracy, completeness,
organization and so on.
• You may also choose to indicate whether you would recommend this work to others or
not, and why.
You must follow these instructions:
1. Your film response paper must be at least 1000 words, i.e. 4 pages double spaced.
2. You must either use Times New Roman or Garamond.
3. You must use standard margins (these are the default margins in Microsoft Word).
4. You must use 12-point font size, not larger, not smaller.
5. Your film response paper must have an argument. Usually an argument must be stated
as “In this essay, I will argue…” or rather you may ask a question at the beginning, which
serves as your argument.
6. You must use at least four sources, these may be from the course syllabus or from
Brightspace, or you may do external research, whichever you prefer. These should be
cited in the Chicago Manual Style.
7. You must have a bibliography at the end of your answer.
8. You must have a title for your film response paper.
9. You may bring art works from our lecture as a comparison to the film, but your focus
should be on the film itself.
How will you be graded?
All answers will be graded in the following manner:
A-range grades will include: (i) a clear title, (ii) a strong argument, (iii) four pages or more
(1000 words or more), (iv) good and effective use of four or more sources clearly tied to your
argument and corroborating your evidence, (v) comparing all works of art given in the prompt,
(vi) a bibliography, (vii) Chicago-style citations, (viii) clearly articulated idea about what you
want to say in the response, (ix) fluid sentence structure, excellent grammar, capitalization, and
use of punctuation, (x) and overall argumentative and clear answer.
B-range grades will include: (i) some semblance of a title, (ii) a basic argument although not
fully developed, (iii) three to four (750-1000 words), (iv) use of three sources, (v) attempt at a
comparison that is good but falls short of the sophisticated analysis in A-range answers, i.e. does
not fully compare all artworks in the prompt, (vi) an attempt at a bibliography, (vii) an attempt at
citations in Chicago-style, (viii) some idea of what you want to prove though not fully legible,
(ix) good sentence structure but with some errors, grammatical mistakes, no capitalization, and
punctuation errors, and (x) and a decent comparison but one that is not fully convincing or
C-range grades will include: (i) no title, (ii) no argument, (iii) less than three pages (750 words),
(iv) use of two or less sources, (v) no comparison only description, (vi) no bibliography, (vii) no
citations in Chicago-style, (viii) no clear idea or evidence in the essay, (ix) bad grammar and
punctuation, unclear sentences, and no capitalization, and (x) overall weak comparison that does
not address any of the requirements listed above.
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