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Modes of Documentary

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Emma Wilkinson

on 22 September 2017

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Transcript of Modes of Documentary

Modes of Documentary
This is considered to be the traditional mode of documentary, it originates with the first documentary (Nanook of the North) and continues to be used in modern day documentaries.
Voice of God Narration
Images match visuals
Often presents only 1 point of view
Focuses on the message rather than the visual aesthetic
Exam Unit
Coursework Unit
Small Scale Research Project
Creative Project
Worth 40 marks

You will carry out a small-scale research project, designed to develop research skills.

It will be based on one focus film, making appropriate referencing at least two other related films.

Your research will focus on 1 of the below areas.

 Star/performer
 Genre
 Auteur (in its broadest sense)
 Social, political and cultural studies
 Gender issues
 Ethnicity
 Institution
 Technology
100 Marks
Worth 60 marks

You will make either:

A short 3-5 minute documentary film/film extract on a subject of your choice
A Step-Outline for a 30 minute documentary relating to your research project

This is worth 45 marks

You will also need to write a reflective analysis critically analysing your creative decisions and how well your final product appeals to its intended audience.

This is worth 15 marks

Section A
World Cinema
Section B
Spectatorship Topics
Section C
Single Film - Critical Study
Worth 35 marks

You will be looking at Aspects of Mexican Cinema from 1990 - Present day

You will study 2 Mexican films, looking at their relationship to national cinema

You will look at:

Amores Perros
Like Water For Chocolate
Y Tu Mama Tambein
100 Marks
Worth 35 marks

You will be looking at Spectatorship and Documentary

You will study a range of documentary films, looking at how the medium has developed throughout the years and how this has affected the way we view documentary as a whole

You will look at:

Nanook of the North
Cathy Come Home/The War Game
The Imposter
Supersize Me
Worth 30 marks

You will be looking at Fight Club

You will study the role of macro and micro elements in the film as well as the critical and theoretical reception of the film as a whole.
Transition Task from AS to A2
You will make a 1-2 minute documentary on "The Life of a Student"

Your documentary will suit the style of 1 of the 6 modes of documentary

Over the next 5 weeks you will plan, film and edit your documentary ready to be screened in your final lesson
Bill Nichols states there are 6 modes of documentary, these modes illustrate different filming styles as well as artistic ideals.

The 6 modes are:

Expository Mode
The Plow that Broke the Plains
Pare Lorentz (1936)
David Attenborough (2013)
Key Features:
The poetic mode of documentary first appeared in the 1920's as a reaction to conventional cinema movements. It incorporates many of the ideals and techniques shown in Russian montage cinema. It uses these techniques to move away from traditional continuity editing and instead creates meaning for an audience by linking together patterns of images, creating associations for an audience. Instead of having well rounded characters the poetic mode chooses to distance itself from its subjects, we do not share any emotive scenes with them instead emotion in the film is created by the poetry that matches or juxtaposes the visuals.
Striking imagery
Focuses on mood rather than story
Poetic Mode
Night Mail
Harry Watt, Basil Wright (1935)
Key Features:
Joris Ivens (1929)
Observational mode attempts to capture (as accurately as
possible) objective reality with filmmaker as neutral observer.
Subjects are not interviewed, conversations are overheard
Mostly handheld camera footage
Quick editing
Observational Mode
Key Features:
Participatory Mode
Key Features
The participatory mode welcomes involvement from the director, with them taking part in and appearing in the documentary itself.
Direct Questioning from director
Documentarian in on screen
Documentarian takes part in the events
Biggie and Tupac
Nick Broomfield (2002)
Reflexive Mode
Key Features
Acknowledges the constructed nature of a documentary and draws attention to it. Attempts to show a version of the truth rather than
Editing process can be drawn attention to
Cameras may be seen
Documentarian can have a direct affect on the action that is taking place
Gimme Shelter
Albert and David Maysles (1970)
Performative Mode
Key Features
The performative mode is the opposite of a observational documentary. The documentary maker is fully involved and it becomes a personal story.
Waltz with Bashir
Ari Folman (2008)
Night and Fog
Alain Resnais (1956)
The documentarian is heavily involved in subject
Set pieces become part of the argument being presented
Relies on filmakers own experience/perspective
Brothers Keeper
Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (1992)
Amy (2015, Asif Kapadia)
In groups you will be assigned 1 of the clips below. You will need to decide which 'mode' your clip fits into and make a presentation justifying your reasons for this decision.
This is Spinal Tap
Rob Reiner (1984)
Waltz with Bashir
Ari Folman (2008)
The Imposter
Bart Layton (2012)
Bowling for Columbine
Michael Moore (2002)
Maysles Brothers (1969)
Robert Drew (1960)
Tongues Untied
Marlon Riggs (1989)
The Civil War
Ken Burns (1990)
Super Size Me
Morgan Spurlock (2004)
1) What mode of documentary is this clip?
2) How do you know?
(Use micro features + terminology)
3) In your clip, what effect has this mode had on the audience?
(Will it provoke an emotional reaction? How will filming using this mode influence their opinion on the subject? Think about how it affects the percieved authenticity of the documentary)

Which of these 'modes' does Amy fit into?
What evidence from the documentary supports this?
How might the use of this mode affect the way audiences view Amy?
How does the 'mode' in this scene affect the way the audience understands Amy?
How does the style of these 2 documentaries affect how the audience receive messages from it?
How does the style of these 2 documentaries affect how the audience receive messages from it?
How does the style of these 2 documentaries affect how the audience receive messages from it?
How does the style of these 2 documentaries affect how the audience receive messages from it?
How does the style of these 2 documentaries affect how the audience receive messages from it?
How does the style of these 2 documentaries affect how the audience receive messages from it?
a conventional documentary?
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