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film Dolores Claiborne and readings by Chancer, Browne.

CRIME, FILM AND REALITY

Assignment questions for film Dolores Claiborne and readings by Chancer, Browne.

The discussion question should help you to formulate your ideas, hypothesis and reflections. In other words, you need to write two three paragraphs of reaction to a specific theme, topic, or characterization common amongst assigned film and readings.  DO NOT summarize or critic the film. Your focus should be on the major themes in the film. By using the discussion questions, it is expected that you will be able to identify main themes that connect assigned film to the readings. The assignment will illustrate your understanding of the material.

Use readings to answer the movie question
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT & DISCUSS Do not answer all questions Pick a couple that can be answered from readings and movie.

1.    After reading the empirical research discussed in the reading by Angela Browne, do you better understand the struggles and perceptions experienced by Dolores? How so? What changes have the criminal justice system made to better respond to domestic violence? Are they effective?

2.    How can an audience remain open-minded about people or situations that may end up different than they appear?

3.    How is home used in the film? What is the director trying to convey?

4.    Can one have strong, conflicting emotions about another person? How does this play out in terms of domestic violence in general, and with Dolores (Kathy Bates) and her employer Vera, and Dolores and her daughter in Dolores Claiborne?

5.    Why is the local police detective so bitter? What triggers his anger?

6.    Typically, children who witness abuse and/or alcoholism in their family are deeply affected. How did this affect Selena in the film?

7.    Was Doloress husband an effective villain?

8.    What does Veras comment mean: Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to and why is it used by both mother and daughter later in the film?

9.    What kind of genre(s) fits Dolores Claiborne and why?

10.    How effective is the story told through its use of flashbacks? Why do you think it was filmed in this manner?

11.    How does the director highlight the mother-daughter bond in all its complexities?

12.    How does the cinematography change in the flashbacks vs. present-day scenes?

13.    How does incest typically affect child victims? How is this demonstrated within the film?

14.    How does resistance become a collective effort for Dolores? Are there any similarities with the film A Question of Silence?

15.    Discuss how violence operates in the film, noting issues of gender oppression and class difference.

16.    What similarities exist between Dolores Claiborne and Thelma and Louise?

17.      In different ways, various characters are on trial in this film.  Who? How so?

18.    Dolores chooses to handle matters all on her own, despite their gravity. Why does she make these choices?  Contrast this aspect of the film with other films we have read about or viewed in class (i.e., A Question of Silence, Thelma and Louise etc.). Be sure to think about any gender roles/expectations that are violated by the characters decisions and why they are seen as problematic.

19.    Does the common bond of gender oppression transcend class antagonism between Dolores and both Vera and Selena? How?

 

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