FA 265 Documentary Film and Video
How does representing a “real” event, story, person etc. through film change our relationship to reality? Does it get us any closer to the “truth?” How can documentary impact the world around us?
This course serves as an introduction to the history and theory of international documentary film. During the semester, we will consider a wide range of cinematic, social, ethical, political, and ideological issues raised by documentary films and videos. These issues include the status of the documentary image, uses of editing, soundtrack, sound/image relationships, as well as the shaping of material into narrative and non-narrative forms. In sum, we will examine the different choices available to filmmakers who seek to represent reality as well as the implications of such choices. To do so, we’ll view a wide range of documentaries from all over the world, including the work of Kirsten Johnson, Ava Duvernay, Bing Liu, Ramona Diaz, Werner Herzog, Fredrick Wiseman, and Rithy Panh. We’ll also pair our viewing with academic articles, interviews, and other writing that will contextualize the visual material and serve as the basis for our discussions.
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