Awakenings Assignment

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Awakenings Assignment
In her film Awakenings, director Penny Marshall dramatizes the "awakening" of a group of misdiagnosed patients in a Bronx chronic hospital in 1969. As the formerly catatonic patients gradually come back to life, they bring their caregivers with them.
Central to the story is Dr. Sayer, played by Robin Williams. In a sense, when he first comes to the hospital, he is as cut off from humanity as his patients are. In a short, well-organized piece of writing, discuss the following:

What does director Penny Marshall reveal about Dr. Sayer's initial character?

View chapters 2 through 6 of the film, and pay close attention to how Marshall reveals Sayer's character. View the sequence 5 or 6 times. Take careful notes as to how Marshall builds an image of the doctor's character.

Consider the following:

  • Angles

  • Internal framing

  • Proxemics

  • Editing

Also, consider the "mise-en scene" of the film. In other words, what is within the frame that tells you about Sayer's character? Is lighting important? Is there anything within the setting that tells you about him? Consider colour, objects, placement, his clothing, etc.

Things To Remember

*you require a defendable or arguable thesis that answers the question

*pre-plan—watch the scene many times, taking thorough notes
*ensure that you have clear and concise topic sentences that will guide each individual body paragraph--attempt transitions
*do NOT simply re-write your thesis in the conclusion--expand and illuminate
*spend some time revising and editing your work--READ IT OUT LOUD OBJECTIVELY IN YOUR HEAD--do not be afraid to add and delete sentences, change the order of words, etc.
*during your revision, look for comma splices, semicolon mistakes, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, etc.
*use your dictionary and thesaurus; utilize precise words (cinematic terms included!) that we have discussed in class

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