Email: firstname.lastname@example.org COURSE DESCRIPTION: How do we define documentary? Draw the lines between documentary, fiction, and entertainment? In this class, we will examine these questions, thinking about the special expectations we have for documentary film: to tell us the truth. We will trace the origins of these expectations (in photography and ethnography) and the development of various techniques and modes of filmmaking that have been defined as “documentary.” We will explore the social and historical contexts and origins of these different modes. You will learn to identify these different modes and analyze how each uses images, words, and narrative to construct arguments about the world. Throughout, we will be conscious of the way that documentaries deal with questions of what is truth/the real and the ethical issues involved in filming real people.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Nichols, Bill. Introduction to Documentary, Second Edition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press (2010). (ID)
Winston, Brian. The Documentary Film Book. London, BFI (2013)
Electronic course packet available on Collab under Resources
Films listed on the syllabus, available on reserve at the Robertson Media Center
Readings from the Nichols book are denoted by (ID) and those from the Winston book by (DFB); all other readings are on Collab in the Resources folder.
You are required to do all of the readings before class and to come to class prepared to summarize and comment on the reading assigned for that day.