Paper Guidelines

How to write a paper for Russian Cinema

  • The papers in this class are intended to give you the opportunity to look in greater depth into some aspect of Russian cinema or to analyze or review a film we didn’t watch in class.
  • It has to concern films made in Russia (before the 1917 revolution), the Soviet Union (including all Soviet Republics), or the post-breakup Russian Federation.
  • This does not include films about Russia made by Hollywood or any foreign studios.
  • You may compare a Russian and foreign film, but it must be an actual, specific, and valid comparison. Such a topic MUST be submitted and discussed ahead of time.
  • You may write about the films we watched, or (Russian) films we didn’t watch.
  • You may write about new (Russian) films that just came out in the theaters.
  • You will need to check your topic with me.
  • Paper length: 7 to 10 pages not including Bibliography/Works Cited.
  • While I do not require original research and discoveries, I do expect that you will do some research to find out more on the subject you choose.
    • This means: statements must be substantiated. Where did you get your facts? Wikipedia doesn’t count as a source (it’s OK as a starting point, but not as documentation)
    • Proper quotations and attributions are essential. It’s fine to quote an author you agree or disagree with, but document your quote (with a reference to the author, specific work, and page as necessary).
    • Don’t use generic “Russian culture” sites. Make sure these sites provide citations as well, and not just unsubstantiated statements.
    • Again, sites about Russia and Russian topics are full of unsubstantiated qualitative statements. Rely on your own, personal experience and conclusions to make qualitative statements or refrain from making any.
  • “Everybody” doesn’t know anything: unless you plan on refuting what “everybody” thinks they know, don’t assume anything is correct without at least checking one reliable source. Again, Wikipedia needs to be double-checked. It’s not reliable in and of itself.
  • Even encyclopedias are not reliable for analysis. They repeat generally accepted analyses. Encyclopedias are great for basic facts, however.

This is not an exhaustive list of guidelines.
Anything is subject to editing. Questions, comments, and suggestions are always welcome.

Note: for this course, “Russian” refers to a production coming from the Russian Empire (pre-1917), the Soviet Union, or the Russian Federation, regardless of the ethnic nationality or original language of the film.