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International Film Comparison Paper

Watch Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, his 1959 classic about the mistakes made by a French elementary school student. Then you may choose from ONE (1) of the four other films below. After watching The 400 Blows and the film of your choice, use the knowledge you have learned thus far in class to compare and contrast the two films.


Use IMDB or Wikipedia to read synopses.

• The 400 Blows (1960)directed by Francois Truffaut(REQUIRED).

Then choose ONE (1) of the following:

• Ghost in the Shell (1996), directed by Mamoru Oshii(Japan)
• Amores Perros (2000), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Mexico)
• Girlhood (2015), directed by Céline Sciamma (France)
• Moonlight (2016), directed by Barry Jenkins (United States)


• It will be up to you to come up with an argument that encompasses both films. 
• You will need to compare and contrast several elements of the films, developing a multi-perspective analysis of local, global, international, and communication issues throughout the films. 
• One other source besides Stephen Prince’s Movies and Meaning is required. You cannot cite IMDB or Wikipedia. Research the background of the director. If you have time to watch another of his or her films, I encourage you.
• You will then write a 3-4 double-spaced page paper IN APA STYLE that analyzes and exposes what you learned from the course about the given films.

As your paper will analyze films directed/written by people from different countries, it is crucial to dissect how these filmmakers approach the elements of filmmaking to tell a narrative. Some of the elements to consider are, but not limited to:

• Film Structure
• Cinematography
• Design
• Editing
• Acting
• Sound
• Genre
• Visual effects
• Screen Reality

Make sure you explain each component you choose in detail and defend your arguments with sources!

Be sure to write your paper in APA format citing the text when necessary. Include an abstract, introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion and reference page. The paper will be submitted to the Turnitin Dropbox on Canvas.


I will deduct points for poor grammar, informality of expression, and failure to comply with APA style. If you don’t have a manual, see below.

Don’t be informal. You’re writing a paper, not a discussion. Don’t offer opinions that sound like social media posts. Writing, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown had incredible performances!” will get you points knocked off.

Use topic sentences. These are the first sentences of your paragraphs, the organizing ideas. For example: “Thanks to its use of deep focus and Walter Murch’s sound design, Apocalypse Now recreates the experience of barely surviving a war in Southeast Asia.”

You must cite Movies and meaning and any relevant secondary sources. If you have seen movies to which you can compare The 400 Blows and the other film of your choice, also cite them. Your paper will be richer if it demonstrates a familiarity with film as a cross-generational conversation.


Most are available free on Kanopy and Swank.

Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services may offer them too.

Several public libraries and our FIU library have these films available for checkout on DVD or Blu-ray. 


Your paper is to be written in an APA-Style format. This includes the following:

• 12point font
• Times New Roman font
• Double-spaced
• 1inch margins
• cover page
• reference page
• in-text citations

For more detailed instructions and information on how to write an APA-style paper, please visit There is an extensive databank on how to incorporate in-text citations, and properly format your references.