Film Review Assignment Rubric
To Live (活着 Huozhe) 1994 Samuel Goldwyn/Era International/Shanghai Film Studios; 125
minutes; Winner, Grand Jury Prize and Best Actor, 1994 Cannes Film Festival; Director: Zhang
Yimou; Starring: Ge You, Gong Li
A film review is not a summary of the plot. Rather, your film review should discuss the issues
raised by the film, address the film’s purpose and importance. In a nutshell, it is a critical
analysis of the content and issues of the film. The length of your review should be 800 words.
The content of your review should include the following in any order you choose.
1) In one short paragraph, describe the film in general terms. Describe the plot and
setting. What subjects does it cover? What issues does it raise? What do you see as
the purpose of the film?
2) What is the central theme of the film? The theme is the message or the main idea the
film is trying to communicate to the audience. It is the point the director is trying to
make through the film.
3) What are the motifs (sometimes called sub-themes, or themes) and symbols in the
film? How are they used to develop and deepen the main theme? A motif is a recurring
element in a story or film. It can be an image, a sound, a song or melody, an object or
idea, or a character’s line (words) that repeatedly occurs in the film. Motifs help to
reveal, develop, deepen and expand the main theme. A symbol is one thing that
represents another. Symbols can be colors, images, objects, or characters that are used to
represent abstract ideas or concepts. Your task is to tell me how motifs and symbols
help to reveal, develop, deepen and expand the central theme that you have
4) What is the relationship between the state and individual in this film?
5) (Optional) Comment on the representation of reality. Is the film historically (or
factually) accurate and realistic? Does it contradict or support anything you have
6) (Optional) Briefly summarize and emphasize the strengths and weaknesses of the film.
Must use the MLA or APA citation format. Must be Word file.
Must have a title page, double-spaced with a 12 point Times New Roman font.
Must be submitted through the Dropbox on Brightspace by 1 p.m., Sept. 23, 2019.
Must place the following on top of the first page of your review:
To Live (活着 Huozhe) 1994 Samuel Goldwyn/Era International/Shanghai Film Studios;
125 minutes; Winner, Grand Jury Prize and Best Actor, 1994 Cannes Film Festival;
Director: Zhang Yimou; Starring: Ge You, Gong Li
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