‘…documentaries are performative acts whose truth comes into being only at the moment of filming…’
Write a 2000-word essay examining the statement above.
Your essay should include an in-depth examination of ANY ONE documentary film of your choice.
Read the ‘Introduction’ to Bruzzi’s New Documentary (2006) to get a fuller sense of the argument she is making in the statement above.
Documentaries do not provide access to some manner of absolute truth or unmediated reality (and this is not a problem); they provide access to ‘a point of view’ on the world, an argument about the world. Their value derives
from the quality of the argument.
Documentaries are representations of the world.
Documentaries provide access to a subjective truth.
Documentaries should be differentiated from documents and have to be evaluated differently.
Readings & references available from Lecture-1 ‘What is documentary?’ http://lists.lib.keele.ac.uk/lists/B9F2CCD5-2CC0-EB45-696A-006C9C654248.html Bruzzi, S. 2006. The event: Archive and Newsreel. In: New Documentary. Oxon: Routledge, pp.15-46.
Nichols, B. 2010. How can we define documentary film? In: Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp 1-41.
Bernard, S. C. 2016. Introduction. In: Documentary Storytelling. New York: Focal Press, pp. 1-16
(Consulting the lecture slides will help you develop your argument)
Structure for the essay
Provide your interpretation of the statement
Support it with relevant references (essential: Bruzzi, Nichols) Identify the film you are examining.
Examine how its value derives from the quality of subjective perspective it provides; the quality of the argument it presents about the world.
Provide a conclusion.
How can a documentary scene be understood as both spontaneous and arranged?
Write a 2000-word essay examining this issue in relation to TWO EXAMPLES (SCENES) from ANY ONE of the following documentary film approaches:
Refer back to Lecture 4 (Creative Modes & Approaches)
Bruzzi, S. 2006. The legacy of direct cinema. In: New Documentary. Oxon:
Routledge, pp.73-80 (available online from Keele library)
Lioult (2004) Framing the unexpected. Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media Jump Cut, No. 47
Remember you have to focus on any one of the two approaches.
Identify which approach you would be focusing upon & examine the statement in relation to the practices employed by the filmmakers working within than approach.
Key exemplars have been identified in the lecture slides.
Identify the particular film you will be analysing.
Briefly contextualise it.
Pick two scenes.
Conduct analysis demonstrating how some elements of what unfolds can be viewed as arranged and how other aspects are unpredictable.
Provide a conclusion.
Why are ethical issues central to documentary filmmaking?
Write a 2000-word essay responding to the question above. Your response should include an in-depth examination of ANY ONE documentary film of your choice. Refer to lecture from Week 5- How to be an ethical documentary filmmaker?
A good essay would first introduce the key issues surrounding ethics in documentary filmmaking, primarily the two key relationships the filmmaker has, the first with the subjects of the documentary, and the second with the audiences. You would therebybe able to foreground issues of representation, consent, honesty & trust as being
vital to the performance of an ethical relationship.
You could then go on to conduct an analysis of any film of your choice and examine how well it holds up to scrutiny using the framework you've set up.
You need to make sure that you back all of this with suitable readings and a close analysis of the film. In terms of references, general readings examining ethics in documentary:
Nichols, B. 2010. Why are ethical issues central to documentary filmmaking?
In: Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp 1-41.
Aufderheide, P., Jaszi, P., & Chandra, M. (2009). Honest truths: Documentary
Filmmakers on ethical challenges in their work. Center for Social Media. Retrieved from http://www.centerforsocial media.org/making-your-media-
Nash, K. (2011). Documentary-for-the-Other: Relationships, Ethics and
(Observational) Documentary. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 26:3, 224-239, DOI:10.1080/08900523.2011.581971
Some of you might want to focus on ‘The Act of Killing’ a film we discussed extensively in the module. Here is a link for a special issue of a journal you might find handy if you are examining ethics in relation to this film:
Indonesia Roundtable: The Act of Killing
NO, THE ACT OF KILLING IS NOT UNETHICAL
You may also use interview materials featuring the director Joshua Oppenheimer.
There are some good interviews available on Youtube in which he discusses ethical concerns. Make sure you reference all source including interviews accessed on Youtube. Guidance is provided in the handbook.Order Now