Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2015

  • Documentary Film

    128 | CCN: 31708

    Linda Williams

    4 Units

    This course surveys the history, theory and practice of the documentary, aka “non-fiction,” film and video. We will explore the term and examine the ways its forms and ethics have changed since the beginning of cinema. We will begin by asking what the “documentary voice” of a given film is and examine the major modes of documentary filmmaking including cinema verité, direct cinema, investigative documentary, ethnographic film, documentary re-enactment, autobiography and the personal essay as well as recent post-modern forms that question relationships between fact and fiction. Through formal analysis, we will examine the "reality effects" of these works focusing on their narrative structures and the ways in which they make meaning. Through this, we explore some of the theoretical questions that constantly surround this most philosophical of film genres: 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?
    Format: Lectures, discussions and some clip screenings will usually be on Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-330 pm in Nestrick Room (142 DW). Screenings will alternate between 4-6 on Tuesdays and 7-9 at the Pacific Film Archive * where directors will often be present. At PFA come 5 mins early and give your name at box office for free admittance. You must attend all classes and every screening.