OverviewThis module addresses a series of documentary films in their historical context and in relation to the different modes of non-fiction filmmaking. Documentary narrative techniques including the use of archival footage, staged reconstructions of past events, and talking-head interviews, are investigated by means of close textual analysis and through a comparative approach to diverse documentary films. This module also explores the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction and, while articulating a definition of documentary film, it studies film forms that present an interplay between the two, such as Mockumentaries and Essay Films.
This module appears in:
Total contact hours: 60
Private study hours: 240
Total study hours: 300
Method of assessment
Essay 1 (2000 words) (35%)
Essay 2 (3000 words) (45%)
Seminar Participation (20%)
Stella Bruzzi, New Documentary: A critical introduction, Routledge, 2000, on contemporary documentary.
John Corner, The Art of Record - A critical introduction to documentary film, Manchester University Press, 1996, is an excellent introduction to theories of documentary form, and to British television documentary.
Kevin Macdonald and Mark Cousins, Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary, Faber, 1996, includes interviews and covers a wide range of documentary forms.
Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary, Bloomington: Indiana Un. Press, 2001.
Carl Plantinga, Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film, Cambridge Un. Press, 1997.
Michael Rabiger, Directing the Documentary, Focal Press, 1992.
Michael Renov, Theorizing Documentary , ed Michael Renov, Routledge, London 1993.
Brian Winston, Claiming the Real, British Film Institute, London, 1995.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
- demonstrate a knowledge and critical understanding of the questions, theories and controversies that have informed critical debates on Documentary Film in relation to fiction film and other forms of non-fiction film;
- demonstrate a historical understanding of the development of documentary film forms and its relation to different modes and sites of exhibition;
- acquire an acquaintance with the technical and stylistic resources deployed by documentary films;
- acquire an awareness of the significant methods of enquiry and able to evaluate their relevance to analysing form and meaning in documentary films.