TCF112/Documentary Form

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Documentary Definition

  • Stuart Kaminsky
    • "Film which through certain conventions creates the illusion that the events depicted were not controlled by the filmmakers."

Types of Documentary

  • Primitive Doc.
  • Travel/Adventure Doc.
    • "Exotic" location/people/cultures
    • Filmmaker imposes his/her culture on exotic cultures
      • E.g., Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1922)
        • Inuit culture, 1922
        • B&W, shot silent, no handheld camera, daytime shooting only, intertitles used to explain/comment on
      • E.g., Congorilla (Martin & Osa Johnson, 1932)
  • Didactic/Teaching Doc. (some call "propaganda")
    • 1930s, England
      • John Grierson, coined term, "documentary"
      • Teach about social issues
    • New Deal doc.
      • F.D. Roosevelt's recovery program
      • E.g., The Plow That Broke the Plains
    • Nazi doc.
      • E.g., Triumph of the Will
      • Nazi rally, in Nuremburg, 1934; Leni Riefenstahl
    • "Why We Fight" Series
      • Narration
      • Graphics--animation (Disney)
      • Previously shot footage
      • Shot very little new footage
        • Triumph
      • Staged scenes
      • B&W
      • Shot silent
  • Camera as Observer
    • Free Cinema (1960s, England)
      • No narration
      • Handheld camera
      • No apparent staging
      • Still mostly B&W
    • Direct Cinema (1960s-70s, US)
      • E.g., D. A. Pennebaker
      • E.g., Don't Look Back, 1967
    • Cinéma Vérité (1960s, France)
  • Television doc.
    • Color video
    • Handheld camera
    • Digital graphics
    • Not limited to daytime shooting
      • E.g., Taxi Cab Confession