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Term Paper - Chris Morita; Film TV 108; Fall 2005 No Lies...

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Chris Morita; Film TV 108; Fall 2005 No Lies in Land without Bread Until Viewed as a Reflexive Documentary Documentary filmmaking is an art and a talent, because documentaries in all senses of the word are viewed for their unique portrayal of the world. It is impossible for a film to gather the entire truth, because mankind does not have the capacity to view, feel, or be everywhere. Although this fact is taken for granted, many films are viewed as if what is being captured is the absolute truth. This misconception that film is reality has been present throughout the history of the documentary and is one of the factors that led to the creation of films which reflect on the act of filmmaking. Films with seemingly nothing in common, from the standpoint of their style or topic, fit into one category simply because they point to any number of deficiencies in the documentary industry. The film Land without Bread , created by Luis Buñuel in 1932, and Michael Block’s 1973 production, No Lies , are nearly complete opposites in both areas, yet are similar solely in their purpose of providing skepticism. This observation leads to the idea that reflexive films are timeless in their pursuit, and only differ because of the eras in which they were made. Land without Bread and No Lies are considered to be part of the reflexive mode of documentary created and defined by Bill Nichols as a documentary that, “calls attention to the assumptions and conventions that govern documentary filmmaking. Increases our awareness of the constructedness of the film’s representation of reality” (34). Both films are grouped under the same mode because they introduce issues of truth, yet they are explicitly different. The distinction between the two, as well as the variation between all reflexive films is the reason why many have been successful. It is very difficult for a film to touch an audience many years after it has premiered 1
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in the same way it influenced the lives of those who first viewed it. The basic principle of reflexive films remains the same, yet not everyone is satisfied viewing the same one, because if they were, the only reflexive film needed would be Dziga Vertov’s, The Man with a Movie Camera. He became the innovator of this type of film because it was a way to for him to deviate from the normal Soviet Union film practices. He believed in the power of the camera and wanted to show the audience the world only available when observed through a lens (Grant 41). One of the ways he did this was by filming his brother Mikhail Kaufman at the same time that Kaufman was filming a scene, giving the audience a view of how something is shot and thus how a film is created. Although The Man with a Movie Camera is still held in high esteem, it is unable to reach all audiences. New reflexive documentaries need to be created because by including contemporary issues and modern film techniques they have a stronger influence over the audience. They catch the audience in a dream
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Term Paper - Chris Morita; Film TV 108; Fall 2005 No Lies...

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