CMS 4500: Film Analysis

Students will analyze one film that includes the experiences of immigrants to the United States as a key motif. Each student will select one of the four films listed below. The links will take you to the IMDB record for each film.

To reserve your film, post a thread in the “Claim Your Film” discussion topic in GA View.

  1. Amreeka (2009)
  2. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle (2004)
  3. Mississippi Masala (1991)
  4. The Visitor (2007)


Unfortunately the university does not provide access to these films, so students are responsible for locating a copy of their chosen film. DVD versions of most films are available through the PINES library system (open to all Georgia residents) as well as the Atlanta Fulton Co. Public Library.


All of the films are about first- and/or second-generation Americans. The paper’s thesis should focus on the film’s implicit and/or symptomatic meanings, as these relate to the motivations for and impacts of immigration, on the immigrants themselves and/or the communities they enter.


Writers of academic papers work very much like lawyers in a courtroom. Your thesis should claim that something is true about your film’s implicit and/or symptomatic meanings, and the rest of your paper should present evidence that supports this claim. In addition to the film’s narrative (i.e. what you could learn by reading the script), your evidence should include elements of the film’s form, including some or all of the following:

  • Cinematography (i.e. camera work)
  • Editing
  • Mise en scène
  • Lighting
  • Sound Design

If you have not studied film in awhile, Dr.  Bonner’s Terms List for the CMS 2100 Introduction to Film class may be helpful.

The analysis will be evaluated using the Writing Criteria. More information about the format and grading is collected on a separate page.