Comparative Study Worksheet 2020-21

Comparative Study Worksheet 2020-21

“Film scripts for sale in Soho! #newyork #newyorkcity #nyc #movies” by Nat Ireland is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


A guide to planning, researching and creating your DP Film Comparative Study

  • Follow the directions for each step below
  • Include for your work where it is required

Student Work

Steps and Tasks

  1. Brainstorm possible films for the task. You must select TWO films from contrasting cultural contexts.
  2. Brainstorm and justify at least three different areas of FILM FOCUS for your two chosen films.
  3. Brainstorm and justify at least two different CULTURAL CONTEXTS for your two chosen films.
  4. Consolidate your ideas and develop at least three different RESEARCH QUESTION topics for your study.
  5. Finalize your choices and select your RESEARCH QUESTION. Choose two films for comparison.
  6. Develop the main arguments you will make about your topic.
  7. Collect evidence from the films that support your argument.
  8. Research secondary sources for information that supports your argument.
  9. Write your Narration and plan the audio-visual components of your video essay.
  10. Recordassemble, and edit your Comparative Study Video Essay.
  11. Create a Works Cited document (separately) once your Comparative Study is finished.

Guidance for Your Work

“Simple formative analysis of film elements, no matter how precise or insightful, won’t cut it which is why the research question needs to be crafted in such a way that it provides scope for theoretical and socio-historic exploration. It’s basically an EE in disguise but focusing on two very different textual sources.”

Comparative Study Task Components

For this assessment task, each student identifiesselects, and researches each of the following task components.

  1. TASK 1: One area of film focus.
  2. TASK 2: Two films for comparison from within the chosen area of film focus, one of which originates from a contrasting time (historical) or space (geographical) to the personal context of the student, and the other film identified for comparison must arise from a contrasting cultural context to the first film. Students are required to select films they have not previously studied in depth. The selected films cannot come from the prescribed list of film texts provided for the textual analysis assessment task and, once selected, the films cannot be used by the student in any other assessment task for the DP film course or the extended essay.
  3. TASK 3: A clearly defined topic for a recorded multimedia comparative study, which links both the selected films and the identified area of film focus. Each student should invest time in researchingdeveloping, and honing their topic (which in most cases is likely to be expressed in the form of a research question) to ensure it is clear, focused and concise, in order to provide them with the maximum potential for success in this task. The topic should seek to enrich the student’s understanding of the chosen area of film focus and should avoid a plot-driven approach to the comparison.

The assessment criteria for this task requires students to provide a strong justification for the choice of task components as part of the recorded multimedia comparative study. This includes the student’s justification for how films arise from contrasting cultural contexts.

1. FILM Choices List

Which films are you considering for your final Comparative Study? List as many as you wish below as part of an initial brainstorm. Remember that you must select ​​TWO​​ films from contrasting cultural contexts for this task.e.g. CITIZEN KANE Year, Country, and Director of the film.e.g. 1941, USA, Dir: Orson Welles
Solo 2018, USA, Dir: Ron Howard
The Good the Bad and the Ugly 1967, USA, Sergio Leone
Star Wars: A New Hope 1977, USA, George Lucas

2. Areas of FILM FOCUS

Film Focus Possibility – identify the broad focus area and then add specifics (e.g. “THEORY – Auteur theory” or “GENRE – Horror”). Develop at least THREE options…you can create more by adding more rows. justification:
Comparison of Film styles of Solo and the Good the Bad and the ugly-directors influence on film style vs genres influence on film style These movie use very different techniques yet they also come from different time periods. This would be a very intriguing topic to research.
Genre-Western: Determine influence of Spaghettis western genre on space western film Both of these movies are in similar yet contrasting genres. It would be interesting to compare them.
Film Theory the Idea of Trust Both of these movies revolve around untrustworthy relations ships and contain betrayals. It would be interesting to compare these.


For this assessment task, “cultural context” involves consideration of some of the following factors, some of which may be blended (such as socioeconomic factors).

  • Economic, Geographical, Historical, Institutional, Political, Social, Technological
Identify at least TWO Cultural Context possibilities for your chosen films films.
Justification for this Cultural Context. Be as specific as possible.
Historical: Pressure of previous films vs none. Solo is heavily influenced by the previous star wars movies and the Yojimbo reportedly inspired the star wars films. Yojimbo was inspired by 1940’s film noir.
Economic: How did previous economic success effect the production of these movies Solo was mainly made to make money based off of the previous success of star wars. I want to research the economics of the making of the good the bad and the ugly.

4. RESEARCH QUESTION Possibilities

Consolidate your thoughts above and develop at least ​THREE​​ different research question possibilities. More are possible by adding additional rows to the table below. FYI these will be shared with the full class for discussion of strengths and weaknesses.

Your Chosen Area of Film Focus Topic for Comparative Study (written as a research question)
Trust: How does the idea of trust impact film style in Solo and Yojimbo
Comparison of Film Styles How does time and genre impact film styles in the good the bad and the ugly and solo.
Comparison of Film Economics How do film economics impact film style

5. Final Decisions

Using your topic options in the table above, select ​ONE​​ to be your final topic for this Comparative Study task. NOTE: There are examples from the IB of what this should look like below this table.

Your Chosen Area of Film Focus Film 1 Film 2 Contrasting Cultural Context Topic for Comparative Study practice task (written as a research question)
Film Style Solo Yojimbo  Yojimbo is a Japanese film from the sixties and Solo is a modern American film. Yojimbo has reportedly influenced the main star wars films and I want to so how if influenced this spinoff film.     How does the theme of trust in the films Yojimbo and Solo effect film style and plot.

6. Developing Your Topic

Develop 3-5 main arguments that can be made about your topic based on your research question and chosen film focus. Brainstorm how you could support these arguments within your video essay.
Trust heavily influenced plot in both Yojimbo and Solo. They both show the dangers of putting too much trust in one person. The gang leaders put all of their trust into yojimbo and they are betrayed. Han buts all his trust in Kyra and he is betrayed.
In these films, film techniques show that it beneficial to trust no one Han’s love interest betrays him in solo. This shows that you cant always trust the people closest to you. In yojimbo, the hero lies and tricks to gangs into destroying eathother, showing how you cant always trust “honorable people”
Culture seems to influence differences in trust in these two films. In yojimbo, the hero cant always be trusted. In solo, Han seems to trust too easily.

7. Selecting Supporting Evidence (Primary)

Identify at least 15 scenes from your chosen films that will help support the arguments you have outlined above. Screen clip a frame from each scene below. Write notes about how this scene helps support your argument. (These notes will help form your voice-over narration.)
The scene where Han solo meets chewie. Chewbacca and Han Solo have to trust each other in order to escape the emperial prison. This is shown through the lighter tone once they meet. This is a good type of trust.
The scene where Han and Kira get separated. Han trusts that Kira will stay on the planet and wait for him. This is shown by Han always bring Kira up in conversation and idolizing her.
The scene at 14:00 in the film where Han joins the military but he doesn’t have blind trust for his leaders. This shows the relationship between trust and government. Many soldiers are sacrificing their lives to their government even though they are just cannon fodder. Also in that scene, it turns out that some of the military officers are actually criminals in disguise.
At 18:00 After the battle, Han tells the criminals that he knows that they are not from the empire. Han wants to join them but they do not trust him. Their body language and the music show this. Han threatens to sell them out to the empire but the criminals report him first.
Later once Han escapes, the criminals invite him on their crew. They form an uneasy relationship. They only invite Han on the ship because he has a wookie.
Later at 28:00 the criminals have a conversation about love and trust around a campfire. There is a shift in music when talking about trust. It also shows that people want someone to trust.
From 35:00 to 39:00 the criminals try to pull a heist Since Han cannot trust the leader of the heist or follow orders, the heist goes wrong and some of the crew are killed. It is also revieled that Beckett (one of the criminals) was lying about their motivation.
At 44:00 Han enters a criminal mob boss’s party. He runs into Kyra, his former love interest. He trusted that Kyra would come and find him. It turns out that Kyra had moved on and tried to forget about him.
53:00 In the next scene, Han tries to win a ship from a Lando. They agree to play a “space card game” to see who gets the ship. It turns out that Lando had been cheating at the game. He betrayed their trust.
1:06 Han and Kyra talk on the millennium falcon. Kyra says that Han shouldn’t trust her. She kisses Han betraying the trust of her boss.
1:07 Han talks with Becket. Becket claims that he is trusting Kyra too easily and that she  isn’t on his side. Becket says that he assumes that everyone will betray him eventally.
In Yojimbo. The ronin enters town at 6:05 You can tell that no-one trusts him because they close all of their windows and peak out from their top floors once he arrives.
After he enters the town. At 8:06 the silk merchant tries to convince him to pick a side in their ongoing war between gangs in town. It turns out that the silk merchant sent him into a trap.
20:00 The bodyguard negotiates his price He price gouges two people who want his help
Later in the movie, the bodyguard kills a gangmember The gang member says that he wants to hold his gun as he dies. Yojimbo trusts him.

*Add more rows as needed.

8. Selecting Supporting Evidence (Secondary)

Identify at least 3-5 secondary sources (articles, books, websites, video essays, etc.) which provide information that help support your arguments being made. In this column include the specific source citations. Summarize the detailed information from the secondary source that you can use in this column. (You can copy+paste if they are from online sources.) The bodyguard is honorable and people trust him. This article argues that the bodyguard is honorable and trustworthy Solo was partially based on yojimbo The article shows’ that the main character isn’t really trustworthy either. However he does protect the weak which is virtuous.

*Add more rows as needed.

9. Writing Your Narration

Using the information, scene choices, and external sources you have compiled in parts 6-8, you will now write your voiceover narration and match it up to your chosen visual examples.

For the final Comparative Study, your narration should be no longer than 10 minutes in length.

Assemble in Two-Column AV Formatt in Celtx (Tutorial) or use Google Docs

Remember that you need to:

  • COMPARE and CONTRAST your two chosen film using the arguments and evidence you identified in parts 6-8
  • Begin your narration with a detailed justification for the chosen cultural contrast
  • Use an equal balance of the two selected films.
  • Write in a third-person voice to construct your argument (similar in tone to your Extended Essay and other
    comparative analytical work you have written in Film class).
  • Identify where any WRITTEN TEXT will appear on the screen and highlight this (to reference during the
    creation/editing stage)
Voiceover Narration Ideas Which visual evidence/scenes line up to this part of the narration?

10. Assembling the Comparative Study

Now you will collect all media resources needed for the task and construct your video essay.


  • Import the digital copy of your chosen films into editing software
  • Identify and extract chosen scenes and clips
  • Place and edit clips into a rough timeline for your video essay
  • Record audio narration (both partners should participate in narrating this practice task)
    into an audio file using recording equipment (Zoom recorders, iPhone, DSLR Rode video
    mic, etc.)
  • Import your recorded narration audio file into your project timeline
  • Assemble, edit and fine-tune clips and narration until your video essay takes shape
  • Create and add any required textual information in the timeline (including black slate at the start)
  • Audio mixing of narration and movie clips (adjust levels so that narration and movie sounds complement each other)
  • Export the final video essay movie file
    • Upload Unlisted draft to YouTube for peer review
  • Create Works Cited list separately (Google Doc)

*NOTE: Separate tutorial and tips sessions will be held throughout this process to provide guidance on recording your voice-over narration and mixing the audio levels successfully.

Examples of Possible Task Components (from the IB)

Area of film focus Film 1 Film 2 Possible topic for comparative study
Film movement: German Expressionism The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Edward Scissorhands (1990) How and with what effect are specific film elements of German expressionism used within a chosen contemporary film?
Film movement: French New Wave Breathless (1960) Badlands (1973) The influence of the French New Wave on New Hollywood’s use of innovative film elements in its representation of youth and violence.
Film genre and film style: Black comedy No. 3 (1997) The Big Lebowski (1998) To what extent do “black comedy” films differ according to cultural context?
Film theory: Soviet Montage Battleship Potemkin (1925) Koyaanisqatsi (1982) To what extent are specific features of Soviet montage theory faithfully employed in a contemporary experimental film?

External Assessment Criteria SL and HL

Peer Review Checklist


TASK COMPONENTS (ACTION) Notes / Suggestions
__ Assemble Findings
__ Develop a personal and critically reflective perspective
__ Identify and gather appropriate audio-visual material to support the study
__ Justify the chosen topic and selected films
__ Make sure that the text is in a formal academic register (can be in the 1st person)
__ Balance between visual and spoken elements
__ Make clear reference to your sources as on-screen citations (text on-screen)
__ Make sure primary weight of evidence for the study from the two chosen films
__ Make sure each film is given equal consideration
__ Make sure film language information is communicated clearly throughout (avoid “to be” verbs – make statements like “blah is this.”)
__ Make sure information is communicated logically rooted in film language
__ Have another student highlight the WHAT WHY HOW in your draft screenplay
__ Recorded voice and edited commentary numerous times until happy with the material
__ Make sure your name and the school’s name ARE NOT IN THE ESSAY
__ Make sure to have 10 second title card with: 1. Area of film focus, 2. Titles of the two films for comparison, and 3. The chosen topic
__ Include breaks in your recorded commentary to enable other audio-visual material included in the study to be clearly heard (if needed)
__ Make sure film clip length matches points being made
__ Make sure still images have citations on-screen, if you have them
__ Make sure text on screen is legible and spelled correctly
__ Make sure information is communicated audibly (levels are good for all sound)
__ Make sure information is communicated visually appropriate manner
__ Make sure background music is from Creative Commons and is cited
__ Make sure edits are clean
__ Make sure presentation is 10 minutes maximum, including title card and credits
__ Make sure two films are listed in sources

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