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THEORY AND ANALYSIS OF THE DOCUMENTARY FILM
Transcript of THEORY AND ANALYSIS OF THE DOCUMENTARY FILM
- It explores the idea that a visual message accompanying text has more power to inform, educate, or persuade a person or audience. - It relies on vision, and is primarily presented with two dimensional images. Important figures: Aldous Huxley and Max Wertheimer. - The Eye of Horus is often referred to as the symbol of visual communication. It is said to be a representation of an eclipse. The Eye of Horus - A 'documentary film' was originally shot on film stock but now includes video and digital productions that can be : direct-to-video, made as a television program or released for screening in cinemas. - The word "documentary" was first applied in 1926 by John Grierson in a review of Flaherty's film Moana. John Grierson Moana - Symbol of prestige for advertisers
- A focal point for national attention on complex issues
- A record of the human experience and the natural world
- An instrument of artistic and social expression ORIGIN OF TV DOCUMENTARIES - The genesis of the American TV documentary tradition is attributed to the CBS series See It Now, started in 1951 by the team Edward R. Murrow.
- It set the model for future documentary series.
- Producers shot their own film, worked without a prepared script and avoided using actors. SEE IT NOW - TV documentaries evolved from 1920s and 1930s works of photojournalists and film documentarists, like , John Grierson, and Pare Lorentz. Edward R. Murrow - See It Now (1954) HISTORY: Actuality films (Pre-1900) -Single-shot moments
-Were extremely short--a minute or less--and just captured moving images in a single event or scene. DOCUMENTARY FILM -The best examples of these documentaries is the footage of the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière. Travelogue films (1900-1920) - Some were known as "scenics".
- Were used to promote the new color processes (The Kinemacolor and Prizmacolor) Example: Frank Hurley's film, South (1919), about the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. In the 1920´s emerged... - Romantic films with Robert J. Flaherty's Nanook of the North. (1922) - "City symphony" films which focused on humans within human-made environments. Ex. Walter Ruttmann's : "Berlin, Symphony of a City". - Kino-Pravda (Cinema Truth) describes Dziga Vertov’s 1920s newsreel series. He believed the camera could render reality more accurately than the human eye. Vertov introduced techniques such as: slow and fast motion, shot and counter shot editing or time lapse. - Newsreel tradition which were usually re-enactments of events that had already happened. Ex. much of the battle footage from the early 20th century was staged. Propagandist tradition (1920-1940) Films were made with the explicit purpose of persuading an audience of a point. One of the most notorious propaganda films is Leni Riefenstahl's film Triumph of the Will (1935). Took documentary filmmaking to a new level of realism using handheld cameras on location to capture events as they occurred. Cinéma-vérité & Direct Cinema ( 50-60´s) Developed due to technical advances like: light, reliable cameras and portable sync sound. One of the founders of the Cinéma Vérité in France is Jean Rouch. Famous Cinéma Vérité/Direct cinema films include Showman and Salesman. Examples of Direct Cinema filmmakers are Michel Brault and Pierre Perrault. 1960s-1970s Political weapons 1960-1970 Documentary film was conceived as a political weapon against neocolonialism and capitalism. Ex. The Hour of the Furnaces (1968), directed by Octavio Getino and Fernando E. Solanas which influenced a whole generation of filmmakers. Modern Documentaries - Financially more viable: affordable digital recording equipment makes it possible for almost anyone to make a documentary.
- Have overlap with TV forms to create what is known as reality television.
- Broadcasters are their largest funding source.
There are many commercially successful documentaries such as: Fahrenheit 9/11 and Super Size Me. NOWADAYS DOCUMENTARY MODES Documentary mode Main characteristics Examples of works
Directly address issues in the historical world. Narration is a distinct innovation.( rhetorical insistence) Its goals are the dissemination of information and persuasion. Reassemble fragments of the world poetically(subjective interpretation) Joris Ivens’ "Regen" (1929) Often used in programs like Crimewatch (BBC) Avoid commentary and reenactment; observe things as they happen allowing viewers to reach the conclusions they may deduce. Pennebaker's "Dont Look Back" Interview or interact with subjects; filmmakers move from behind the camera and appear as subjects in their own work. "Roger & Me" by Michael Moore. Question documentary form. It positions the spectator as the focus of attention. Mitchell Block’s..."No Lies"(1974) Constructs subjective truths significant to the filmmaker and stress the emotional complexity of experience . (Deeply personal) Marlon Riggs’ documentary "Tongues Untied" (1990) DOCUDRAMA: documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. - Focus on the facts of the event.
- Use of literary and narrative techniques
- Some degree of dramatic license
Origin : the second half of the twentieth century after World War II when Louis de Rochemont brought the newsreel aesthetic to films. CHARACTERISTICS: Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" is one of the most famous example of the genre. Mockumentary: genre in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format, often as historical documentaries.
- They are used to analyze or comment on current events by using a fictitious setting, or to parody the documentary form itself.- Are often improvised to help to maintain the pretense of reality.
-EXAMPLE: Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run".(1969) Ethnographic film : documentary film related to the methods of ethnology.
ORIGIN: It emerged in the 1960's as a tool for research in the domain of visual anthropology.
2 main types : those created by ethnographers in the course of their professional work and those created by others.
Nowadays are also made in video and digital media and may contain elements of text and animation.
Some founders are --> Gregory Bateson, John Marshall, Marcel Griaule and Jean Rouch. Gregory Bateson Nature documentary : documentary film about non-human living creatures usually in their natural habitat.
- Generally made for television usually of 45–50 minutes duration and for public broadcasting channels.
- ORIGIN: Started on BBC television, with the long-running series "Look" ,hosted by Sir Peter Scott. - Some are made as full-length cinematic presentation such as "March of the Penguins" and "The Leopard Son". DOCUMENTARY FILM GENRES Travel documentary : describes travel in general or tourist attractions in a non-commercial way.
- In the past the genre was represented by television shows such as "Across the Seven Seas". Today some important productions are the ones of the British comedian Michael Palin depicting his travels around the world.
- Example: Michael Palin's "New Europe " (2007) Concert film: is a type of documentary film which consists of an extended live performance or concert by a musician.( or by a comedian)
Example: The Last Waltz (1978), documenting The Band's final concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Last Waltz
Student: Carla Sánchez Galindo
Course professor: Pedro Valiente Martínez
Group: 30 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BROADCAST NEWS AND DOCUMENTARY JOURNALISM Favors reporter-centered storytelling
Narration drives the story
Engages short, emotional narration
B-roll used to illustrate the narration-shooting to script
Short length(2 -3 minute) and rely on heavy narration written by a reporter. BROADCAST NEWS DOCUMENTARY JOURNALISM
Action footage drives the story
Narration used to provide information in context
Make the video footage primary and narration secondary
Information more in depth, character- centered stories Use characters´ voices DOCUMENTARY AND AUDIENCE Now audiences are more accessible due to the web and social media, so there are lower cost of promotion and marketing. We can distinguish 2 types of audiences: general and core audiences: Want detail
Want to advance their knowledge
Want to relate the topic to their lives CORE GENERAL Find details boring
Seek escape and entertainment
May never engage in the topic again + They also look for something else, A PLOT DOCUMENTARY FILM FORMS According to Erik Barnouw there are many forms: 1. Explorer --> (ex. "Nanook of The North")
3. Painter --> (ex. Joris Iven´s "Rain")
4. Advocate--> (ex. "Triumph of The Will")
5. Bugler --> (ex. "Why We Fight" by Frank Capra)
6. Prosecutor --> (ex. "Requiem for 500000")
7. Poet--> (ex."Glass" by Bert Haanstra)
8. Chonicler --> (ex. "March of Time")
9. Promoter --> (ex. "Louisiana Story" by Frances Flaherty)
10.Observer--> (ex. "Titicut Follies ")
11. Catalyst -->(ex. Jean Rouch´s film, "Jaguar")
12. Guerilla -->(ex. "Why Vietnam") DOCUMENTARY AND TELEVISION Video Web accelerates the transmission, innovation and iteration of IDEAS.
Since 2005 it has abandoned TV and has become the fastest growing and prevalent form of traffic emerging on the Web due to:
1. CAMERAS--> Web video cameras are now standard fare on cell phones. FlipCams are cheap and record remarkable HD video.
2. BANDWIDTH--> Now video moves with rare buffering as users find they are able to get a HD experience with relative ease. Web Video Is The New Television
3. DISTRIBUTION--> YOUTUBE was important in breaking the monopoly that broadcast and cable had over video distribution. Since 2005 more distribution solutions have emerged like iphone, iPad, boxes like Roku, Boxee. DOCUMENTARY AND CINEMA DOCUFICTION
- Combination of fiction and documentary.
- It is a film genre which attempts to capture reality and which simultaneously introduces unreal elements or fictional situations to strength the representation of reality.
ORIGIN: It is a way of making films practiced by authors such as Robert Flaherty and Jean Rouch in the 20th century.
EXAMPLE :"La pyramide humaine" by Jean Rouch.(1958) ETHNOFICTION - Neologism which mainly refers to docufiction.
- It is a genre in which, by means of fictional narrative, the characters (natives) play their own roles as members of an ethnic or social group. - An ethnographer cameraman will be accepted as a natural partner by the actors, it will be one of them.
- Jean Rouch is considered to be the father of ethnofiction.
- EXAMPLE: "Les Maîtres Fous" by Jean Rouch. (1955) REALITY FILM:
- Is a genre of films that have resulted from reality television.
-A pre-determined situation is created, often with non -professional actors, and then the ``reality´´ of what happens is filmed.
- In reality film everything that happens is real but you are only seeing what the producers want you to see, in the way they want you to see it. They need to turn normal people into characters to achieve an entertaining experience.
EXAMPLE: "The Real Cancun", MTV's film version of "The Real World". POLITICAL CINEMA:
- It portrays current or historical events in a partisan way in order to inform or to agitate the audience.
- The term refers to political films which do not hide their political stance, however they are not necessarily pure propaganda .
-Political cinema exists in different forms such as documentaries, feature films, animated and experimental films.
TOPICS--> In the last decades of the 20th century filmmakers focused on the remembrance and reflection of major collective crimes such as The Holocaust or disasters like Chernobyl.
21st century political cinema--> Focus on controversial topics such as AIDS, issues affecting the environment, matters concerning to terrorism(...) EXAMPLE: "An Inconvenient Truth" by Davis Guggenheim.(2006) and "Sicko" by Michael Moore.(2007) WOMEN´S CINEMA:
- Refers to the work of women film directors and also to the work of other women behind the camera such as cinematographers and screenwriters. - Silent films: Lois Weber was one of the most successful film directors of the silent era.
- Classic Hollywood: Main women filmmaker was Dorothy Arzner which succeeded in smuggling in feminist elements into her films.
- Experimental and avant-garde cinema: Germaine Dulac was a leading member of the French Avantgarde film movement and Maya Deren's films belong to the classics of experimental cinema.
- Impact of second-wave feminism: In the late sixties, women participated in mixed new collectives like Newsreel and formed their own film groups. Early feminist films often focused on personal experiences. A first masterpiece was Wanda by Barbara Loden. Lois Weber Dorothy Arzner Germaine Dulac VISUAL CULTURE :
- As an academic subject is a field of study that focus on aspects of culture that rely on visual images.
-Many aspects of Visual Culture overlap with the study of science and technology and may also overlap with another emerging field, the "Performance Studies".
- ORIGIN: Early work on visual culture has been done by John Berger (Ways of Seeing, 1972) and Laura Mulvey (Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, 1975)
- Major work on visual culture has been done by William J. Thomas Mitchell, particularly in his books "Iconology" and "Picture Theory" and by the art historian and cultural theorist Griselda Pollock. - Data collection using cameras and other recording technology (such as film and video cameras) - Studying visual data produced by cultures -->It is a discipline to study the visual products of society—their production, consumption and meaning. - Communication with images and media other than words.
- Arts forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature.
- In this category of visual arts are also included the applied arts (like graphic and fashion design) and decorative art. - Forms of visual art: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, film making, computer art and sculpture.
- In the United States the pieces of visual art are protected by The Copyright Law of the United States of America - Chapter 1. VISUAL ARTS: VISUAL SOCIOLOGY:
-Is the area of sociology concerned with the visual dimensions of social life.
-It is nurtured by the International Visual Sociology Association.(IVSA)
Theory and method: There are at least three approaches to doing visual sociology :
- Genre of film which combines the genres of animation and documentary. ANIMATED DOCUMENTARY: ORIGIN: the first recognized example of this genre is "The Sinking of the Lusitania" by Windsor McKay's (1918)
- Since the 1920s, animation has been used in educational and social guidance films . Ex. of fully-animated educational film: "The Einstein Theory of Relativity" (1923)
- Today one of the most consistent creators of this form is Paul Fierlinger. Ex. Fierlinger's animated a feature-length autobiography "Drawn from Memory" in 1995.
- The 2008 film "Waltz with Bashir" was advertised as being the first feature-length animated documentary. "Waltz with Bashir" trailer DOCUMENTARY AND NEW MEDIA EMERGING MEDIA:
- The technological developments have made film and video more portable, accessible and affordable.
-This has allowed people to engage with the practice of documenting.
-An ordinary citizen can capture an action with a camcorder, transforming from a witness to an amateur documentary filmmaker.
EXAMPLE: Video of Rodney King being subjected to police restraint. He was able to capture the police brutality with his camcorder.(1991) NEW MEDIA AND PARTICIPATORY CULTURE:
-New media has reshape documentaries practices
-Recording technologies and personal portable devices (like video-equipped phones) allow a vast number of citizens to engage in and participate. - This has led to what has been called as participatory culture. which means that citizens do not only consume or receive information but also create and publish information, usually through the Internet. Web 2.0 Platforms - Digital media- making becomes a form of documentary practice when the results are created and shared via social networking sites and Web 2.0 Platforms (Ex. Facebook,MySpace Youtube...)
- These sites allow people to share and collaborate on content in many ways , which guarantees a free flow of ideas .
- This has led to what Pierre Lévy called collective intelligence.(is the share of knowledge that emerges from the collaboration of many individuals.)
New media influence on the aesthetics of film and video production can be divided in : Means of communication Means of expression. SOCIAL MEDIA: NEW GENERATION OF JOURNALISTS
- Nowadays anyone with access to the internet can be a journalist.
- By using social media sites like Facebook,Twitter and Youtube, they can report on the events they witnessed.
- A simple 140 character tweet or 2 minute Youtube video clip can inform the people of events in countries all over the world. HOW TO WRITE A DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT:
- A well-written film script is an instrument through which you can create emotion at will. It is possibly the most critical aspect of the film making procedure. There are two stages of documentary scriptwriting: DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT The pre-shoot script: is a conceptual map for your shooting journey. It is a visual guideline for the shoot. It is descriptive but it allows interpretation. The post-shoot script is the final version of the shooting script. It combines conceptual elements and audiovisual information gathered at the production stage.
It often includes descriptions of shots and actions and is very comprehensive. Writing for film and documentary DIFFERENCES: Is visual.
Reveals what the eye often cant see.
May have color and audio elements.
Transcends time and space.
Emphasizes and emotionalizes. Deals with fact, not fiction.
Inspire movement and action.
Involves less control.
Subject is paramount.
Credibility is KEY.
Form is more important than formula. Documentary Film Characteristics of these new media platforms:
- Content globalization: allow the content to reach to different audiences from diverse cultures, ages, geographic locations.
- Interactivity : allows various ways of communication with the users allowing them to contribute, discuss , modify ... through different stages of film making from the inception to the final distributed work. New media platforms expand the common means of cinematic expression:
- Interactive flow: this has change the traditional linear flow, and now there is a double way communication.
-Not just video: there is a combination of types of media material like audio, animation, photography, graphics texts...
-Digital cameras: the development of different types of cameras such as wireless cameras, mobile devices cameras... has increased the number of ways of documenting spontaneous real life events.
-Documentary films can be enriched by creating powerful and immediate means of communication and dialogue with the viewers.
- Community: the combination of communication technology, interactivity and content globalization enables the formation of a community with shared interest.
-Variability: art works are dynamic, enabling constant modification by the filmmaker or the participants.
- Simultaneity: computer allows to work on several applications simultaneity.
- Mobility: mobile devices allows to watch content and interact with it anywhere.
-Outreach: new media distribution platforms allow filmmakers to seek and locate audiences interested in their subjects. CHANGES IN DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKING: Example of documentary projects being introduced using new media platforms:
- GAZA/SDEROT-->(LIFE IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING.) THE RESOURCES OF THE COURSE.
- Williams, Linda (1993), Mirrors without memories: truth, history and the new documentary. Film Quarterly. Vol 46.3, pp 9-21
- Kanellopoulos,Dimitris (2012) "Semantic annotation and retrieval of documentary media objects", Electronic Library, The, Vol. 30 Iss: 5, pp.721 – 747
- Heider,Karl G.(2006) ,Ethnographic Film: Revised Edition,University of Texas Press,pp.180.
Nichols, B (2001). Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press.
- Asch, Timothy; John Marshall; and, Peter Spier. 1973. “Ethnographic Film: Structure and Function.” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 2: 179- 187.
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VIDEOS FROM YOUTUBE BIBLIOGRAPHY THEORY AND ANALYSIS OF THE DOCUMENTARY FILM