UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2018

128 | CCN: 24296

Documentary Film

Natalia Brizuela,

4 Units

This course surveys the history, theory and practice of documentary film and video. We will explore the term and the way it has changed, as a term and as a practice, since the beginning of cinema. We will examine the major modes of documentary filmmaking including ethnographic film, investigative documentary, direct cinema, cinema verité, the personal essay, re-enactment as well as more recent forms that question the relationship between fact and fiction. Through formal analysis we will study the ‘reality effects’ of these works focusing on their narrative structures and the ways in which they make meaning. This will allow us to explore some of the theoretical questions that constantly surround this genre: How do these films shape notions of truth, reality and point of view? What are the ethics and politics of representation and who speaks for whom when we watch a documentary? What do documentaries make visible or conceal? What, if anything, constitutes objectivity?