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Issues and Debates
Transcript of Issues and Debates
Assessment / Homework
Issues and Debates
Split into 3 parts:
Section A - World Cinema (35 marks)
Section B - Issues and Debates (35 marks)
Section C - Close Study Film (30 marks)
Section B has a choice of 2 questions. You only need to answer 1.
The exam is 2 ¾ hours long
Introduction to Documentary and Spectatorship Theory
Early Documentary - Nanook of the North
Docu-Drama - Cathy Come Home
Modes of Documentary - Reflexive Documentary - The Imposter
Documentary Propaganda/Activism - Blackfish
What is a Documentary?
In pairs try to think of a definition of a documentary?
What is your favourite documentary?
In pairs talk about your favourite documentary.
Why is this particular documentary your favourite?
How and why does it appeal to you as a member of its audience?
There are a number of theories that explain how audiences can interact with texts and how messages can be communicated to a spectator.
Research the Lumiere Brothers.
What are they famous for?
What are some of their films called?
How are they different to modern films?
Documentaries aim to document reality, attempting to show this in their depiction of people, places and events.
John Grierson states that:
"Documentary is the creative treatment of actuality"
What does the quote from John Grierson mean?
How do these two definitions contradict each other?
What do you expect to see in a documentary?
In pairs make a list of all the conventions you would expect to see in a documentary.
Shot on location
Hypodermic Needle Theory
Early 20th century concerns were that mass media aimed at a mass audience would be influenced by the same ‘mass’ message.
This was known as the Hypodermic model – where the media ‘inject’ ideas into a PASSIVE audience. This suggests there is only a single meaning in a text and the audience accepts that meaning.
This theory is still relevant today, particularly when thinking of ideas such as immigration and other political stand points.
Uses and Gratifications Theory
This theory moves away from the idea of a passive audience and instead looks at an ACTIVE audience.
The theory suggests that different people use media texts for different things.
Reception analysis is concerned with an investigation of how audiences might receive texts taking into account how an audience’s social and daily routines can influence readings and engagement with different media texts.
Every individual has a unique relationship with the film they are watching.
This relationship is likely to change in subtle ways from one viewing to the next. Response draws in the whole of the self.
This idea suggests that mass media has power as seemed apparent in Nazi Germany who used media – films such as Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935) – as propaganda tools to ‘inject’ ideas making them dominant amongst the German public. It has also been proposed that advertisers manipulate audiences in such a way.
Look at the opening sequence of Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935). Try to remove any thoughts of what the Nazis did during the war and watch the film as an audience of the time would have done.
Which scene do you find the most powerful in the opening sequence?
What filmic techniques are being used by the director at this time?
What on-screen devices are being used to promote reaction?
In pairs use the cards match the key word with its definition
Look at the opening scene of Sicko (Michael Moore, 2007).
How is this clip being mediated?
Does it appear to be authentic?
How is verisimilitude/realism used in this clip?
Blumler and Katz use 4 ways that people use media texts:
Try to think of some types/genres of documentary that could be used for each one of these categories.
Blumler and Katz, 1975
Surveillance - need for information about world events
Personal relationships - need for social interaction
Personal identity - need to define sense of self and inform own behaviours
Diversion - need for escape and entertainment
Stuart Hall states that there are 3 ways an audience can read a text:
Preferred/Dominant Reading - where the target audience accept and share the messages/dominant values that were encoded by its producer (hegemonic reading)
Oppositional reading – where audience members not part of the target audience reject the preferred reading/dominant values of the producers and receive/construct an alternative meaning (counter hegemonic)
Negotiated reading – where audience members receive the text and understand the messages/dominant values of the producers but will modify meaning/argue against certain messages to suit their own values and position
Watch the trailer for Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, 2004)
What is the preferred reading of this text?
What is the oppositional reading?
What is the negotiated reading?
This theory states the self is split into 4 parts:
Social self - makes meaning similar to those with similar ideological formation (social background).
Cultural self - makes particular intertextual references (to other films and materials) based on a bank of material they possess
Private self - carries memories of thier own experiences and who may find personal significance in a film in ways different from others in the community.
Desiring self - brings conscious and unconscious energies and intensities to the film event that have little to do with the films surface content.
Can you think of any examples where you have reacted to a text differently than your friends or family?