Intro to cinema six modes presentation (1)


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Bill Nichols Six Modes of Presentation

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Intro to cinema six modes presentation (1)

  1. 1. Bill Nichols’ SixModes ofDoecumentary { Brian Thompson, Laura Zalewski
  2. 2. Grouping the Voices of the Documentary Each documentary has its own voice There are six modes of representation that function like sub-genres of the documentary film genre itself Each mode arises through a growing sense if dissatisfaction among filmmakers with a previous mode The six modes are:  Poetic  Expository  Participatory  Observational  Reflexive  Performative
  3. 3. The Poetic Mode Stresses mood, tone, and effect more than displays of knowledge or acts or persuasion Began as a way of representing reality in terms of a series of fragments, subjective impressions, incoherent acts, and loose associations Draws on historical world for raw material, transforms the material in distinctive ways Moves away from the objective reality of a situation to grasp at an inner truth
  4. 4. Example of Poetic Mode  Robert Flaherty’s Man of Aran 
  5. 5. The Expository Mode Addresses the viewer directly, through either a voice of God commentary (speaker heard but not seen) or through a voice of authority commentary (speaker is heard and seen) Voice of God commentary is useful because it has the capacity to judge actions in the historical world without being caught up in them The tone of the commentator strives to build up a sense of credibility through qualities such as distance, neutrality, disinterestedness, or omniscience Relies heavily on an informing logic carried by the spoken word Emphasizes objectivity and well supported argument
  6. 6. Expository Mode Continued Commentary serves to organize the images and make sense of them With spoken word as the emphasis of expository documentaries, images serve a supporting role, illustrating, illuminating, evoking, or acting in counterpoint to what is said Editing in this mode serves to maintain the continuity of the spoken argument. Known as evidentiary editing The ideal mode for conveying information or mobilizing support through a film
  7. 7. Example of ExpositoryDocumentary  Nature Documentaries  xU
  8. 8. Observational Mode Mode in which all forms of control that a filmmaker might exercise over staging, arrangement, or composition of a scene are sacrificed to observe the lived experience spontaneously Exemplified by the Direct Cinema Movement  Attempted to accurately capture objective reality w/filmmaker as natural observer Nothing is staged, so camera has to rush to keep up with the action, can cause the footage to be rough or shaky Filmmaker is supposed to film the action as if he were a fly on the wall, do nothing but observe
  9. 9. Observational Mode Continued Films in this mode have no voice over commentary, supplementary music, sound effects, intertitles, historical reenactments, or interviews This mode raises some ethical questions like:  Is the filmmaker intruding on the behavior of others?  Does the filmmaker seek out others to represent because they possess qualities that may fascinate viewers for the wrong reasons? Example of Observational Documentary is Frederick Wiseman’s “Hospital” (1970). 