An essay about humanities

Prompt 1: Race, Relationships, & Representation in Film
Filmmaker Jordan Peele created his film Get Out in 2017, 50 years after Guess Who’s Coming
to Dinner was released. Peele has discussed how the 1967 film was a major influence on his
own. Critics have also noted that Get Out is in some ways a remix or a revision of Guess Who.
The films tell the same story, an interracial couple meets the white woman’s parents for the first
time.
Your job will be to compare, contrast, analyze, and interpret these 2 films. Your essay will
answer the question: how does screening these films together impact our experience of each
film? You will engage with the work of James Baldwin to guide your discussion.
Read the James Baldwin’s selection from The Devil Finds Work. Then, screen Guess Who’s
Coming to Dinner (1967) and Get Out (2017). As you screen the films keep the following in
mind:
1) Baldwin focuses on the representation of African American male sexuality, agency,
and identity – analyze and interpret how the characters John Prentice (Sydney Poitier)
and Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) are portrayed. How are these characters
different? How are they similar?
2) Analyze and interpret the exchanges between African American characters.
Compare and contrast these interactions from both films.
3) What do we notice about the settings of each of these films? Are there details in the
visual and material world of the film that add to their impact?
4) Who do these filmmakers assume their audience is? Who do they want to speak to?
What can we point to in the film that tells us who the filmmaker imagines is watching
their creations?
5) Have you navigated spaces that feel similar to those encountered by these films’
protagonists? Do aspects of the experiences represented by these films ring true to you?
As you screen the films take notes. Describe specific scenes that you would like to write about
in your essay. Don’t be afraid to pause and rewind to make sure you wrote down how a specific
moment struck you.
Your essay should answer the question: how does screening these films together impact our
experience of each film? In your essay, you need to incorporate aspects of Baldwin’s work to
bolster your discussion of the two films. Use the questions above as a guide, you do not need to
address all of them in the paper, but please address at least one. I want to hear what YOU think
about these films, so please limit the use of outside sources beyond the film to just Baldwin.

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