Documentary Forms – Documentary Forms & Explorations
125 001 | CCN: 31997
Jeffrey A. Skoller
Location: Dwinelle 142
Date and Time: TU, TH 2:00pm - 3:29pm
This course surveys the history and theory of the art of Documentary Film. We will explore this constantly evolving practice by examining the ways its forms and aesthetics have changed since the beginning of cinema. We examine the major modes of documentary filmmaking including cinema verité, direct cinema, investigative documentary, ethnographic film, agit-prop and activist media, autobiography and the personal essay as well as recent post-modern forms that question relationships between fact and fiction such as the docudrama, the archival film, cine-recreations and “mockumentary.” Through formal analysis, we examine film and media works from a diverse range of filmmakers from different countries and cultures–past and present, 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 and politically engaged film genres. We will ask: How do these films shape notions of truth, reality and point of view? What are their 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? And by the way, just what is a document anyway?