Documentry Cinema

Discuss the use of voiceover in ONE OR MORE of the films screened on the unit. Look closely at the way the voice relates to the images on screen, and the way it sets up a particular relationship with the audience. Is the voice that of the author, a narrator, the film, or the metaphorical ‘voice of god’?
Does this voice shape the meaning of the images, or does it augment them in a way that is more open-ended and suggestive? To what extent is the voiceover objective or subjective? How do you know?
Documentary has been described as the “perpetual negotiation between the real event and its representation” (Bruzzi, 2000). Discuss with reference to ONE OR MORE documentaries shown on the unit.
Discuss the relationship between sound and image in ONE OR MORE of the films screened on the unit. Consider examples where one supports the other, where one contradicts the other, and/or where a dialectical relationship exists between the two, thereby creating a ‘third’ audio-visual idea in the mind of the viewer.
Discuss both the ambitions and limitations of the observational documentary mode (Direct Cinema and Cinéma Vérité) in relation to Grey Gardens and/or Chronicle of a Summer.
Discuss the relationship between truth and fiction in The Thin Blue Line. This should include reference to ‘self-reflexivity’ in documentary filmmaking.
How does the inclusion of Broomfield’s performative self affect the way we read The Leader, His Driver and the Driver’s Wife?
What is achieved aesthetically and politically by giving cameras to the soldiers in The War Tapes? What are the ethical implications of this choice?
Is there a place for the subjective point of view in documentary filmmaking? How does it function in Sans Soleil [Sunless]? What are its effects?
With reference to one or more films on the module discuss the ambitions and limitations of the ethnographic mode. Define Ethnography. What dangers persist in ethnographic styles of representation? What tactics are employed to circumvent these limitations?

Choose 3 of these Core Readings

Barnouw, E. (1992) Documentary:  A History of the Non-Fiction Film, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Berry, C; Hamilton A; Jayamanne, L (Eds) The Filmmaker and the Prostitute: Dennis O’Rourke’s “Good Woman of Bangkok”. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Bruzzi, S. (2000) The New Documentary: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.

Bryant, M (1997) Auden and Documentary in the 1930s. London: The University Press of Virginia.

Citron, M. (1998) Home Movies And Other Necessary Fictions. Visible Evidence, Vol. 4. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press.

Corner, J. (1996) The Art of Record: A Critical Introduction to Documentary. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Cousins, M. (1996) Imagining Reality. London: Faber and Faber.

Dovey, J. (2000) Freakshow: First Person Media and Factual Television. London: Pluto Press.

Ellis, J C. and McLane, B. (eds.) (2005) A New History of Documentary Film, New York & London: Continuum.

Feldman, S. (1977) “Viewer, Viewing, Viewed: A Critique of Subject-Generated Documentary” in Journal of the University Film Association, Vol. 29: 23-26, 35-36.

Grant, B.K & J Sloniowski (1998) Documenting The Documentary: Close Readings Of Documentary Film And Video. Detroit, M.I., Wayne State University Press.

Hall, J. (1991) “Realism as a Style in Cinema Verite: A Critical Analysis of ‘Primary’”. Cinema Journal, Vol. 30, No. 4, (Summer), pp. 24-50.

Jerslev, Anne (ed.) (2002) Realism and ‘Reality’ in Film and Media. Northern Lights Film and Media Studies Yearbook. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.

Lipscomb, J C. (1964) “Cinema-verite”. Film Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Winter), pp. 62-63.

Macdonald K. and Cousins M (eds.) (1996) Imagining Reality. London: Faber and Faber.

Margulies. (ed) (2002) Rites of Realism: Essays on Corporeal Cinema. Durham and London, Duke University Press.

Nichols, B. (1991) Representing Reality, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
_____. (1994) Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture. Bloomington, Ind.:
Indiana University Press.

_____. (2001) Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.

Plantinga. C R. (1997) Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rabiger, M. (1997) Directing the Documentary. London: Focal Press.
Renov, M. (ed) (2000) Theorizing Documentary. New York: Routledge
———. (2004) The Subject in Documentary. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Rosenthal, A. (1988) New Challenges for Documentary, California: California University Press.

Rothman, W. (1997) Documentary Film Classics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ruby, J. (1991) “Speaking For, Speaking About, Speaking With, or Speaking Alongside – An Anthropological and Documentary Dilemma”. Visual Anthropology Review. Fall, Volume 7: Number 2.

Russell, C. (1999) Experimental Ethnography: The Work of Film in the Age of Video. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.

Saunders, Dave (2007) Direct Cinema: Observational Documentary And The Politics Of The Sixties.
London: Wallflower Press.

Tobias, M. (ed) (1998) The Search for Reality: The Art of Documentary Film-making, London: Michael Wiese Productions.

Waldman, D. & Walker, J. (1999) Feminism and Documentary, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Warren C. (ed.) (1996) Beyond Document: Essays on Nonfiction Film. Connecticut, Wesleyan University Press.

Williams, C. (1980) Realism and the Cinema. London: Routledge.

Winston, B. (1995) Claiming The Real: The Documentary Film Revisited, London: BFI.


and use these documenteries

30s Britain 1, The GPO Classic Collection, BFI [includes: The City (Elton, 1939), Spare Time (Jennings,
1939), Coal Face (Cavalcanti, 1935), Night Mail (Watt, Wright, 1936)].
Chronicle of a Summer [Chronique D’un été] (Rouch & Morin, 1960, France)
Darwin’s Nightmare (Hubert Sauper, France, 2004)
Grey Gardens (Maysles Brothers, 1975, USA)
The Leader, His Driver and the Driver’s Wife (Broomfield, 1991, UK)
Man on Wire (James Marsh, USA, 2006)
Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1922, USA)
Sunless [Sans Soleil] (Chris Marker, 1983, France) The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988, USA)
The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988, USA)
The War Tapes (Deborah Scranton, 2006, USA)
Two Years at Sea (Ben Rivers, 2011, UK)
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Gordon & Parreno, France, 2006)

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