documentary cinema notes 1

documentary cinema notes 1 - What is documentary cinema...

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What is documentary cinema? Films that portray the world in which we live, not one created by filmmakers. What constitutes documentary cinema changes over time. Think about how realism changes with time. Battleship Potemkin…Umberto D…Citizen Kane…The Blair Witch Project…even Gravity. Films that exploit the idea that they are revealing something about our own lived experience. A faithful representation of reality. We hear about Reality television. Things like COPS, Big Brother, Real Housewives NY and LA Million dollar listing…exploiti ng each in their own ways a form of authenticity, of truth, of immediacy. To witness the lives of people who share the same world, culture that we do. Some documentaries use conventions and techniques from narrative cinema. Re- creations, staged events, non-diegetic music. Like our film this week, The Thin Blue Line. And some fiction films use documentary techniques like location shooting, found footage, non-professional actors. Images can be used to convey a sense of authenticity that is entirely constructed. Impression of authenticity can be achieved by mimicking certain techniques, like rough camerawork, off-the-cuff lighting, grainy film stock. Documentary depends on the audience feeling a sense of authenticity, to make us connect to images and i deas that are immediate and “real.” That’s why fiction filmmakers often use so -called documentary techniques to bring audiences into a world that is made to be “authentic.” Saving Private Ryan Omaha beach landing, All the President’s Men.
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  • Fall '13
  • Film Studies, Documentary film, documentary films, Fiction Films, so-called documentary techniques, observational mode

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