Genre and narrative_in_documentary_film


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Genre and narrative_in_documentary_film

  1. 1. Categories: Genre One way of categorising documentaries is by the degree of creative treatment of recorded material. Three subgenres are: realist documentary: imposing minimal treatment on recorded material i.e. ‘fly-on-the-wall’ formalist documentary: imposing a particular narrative structure on recorded material i.e. ‘fly-in- the-soup’ subjective documentary: which express the filmmaker’s personal vision. Any one documentary can mix these techniques.
  2. 2. Categories: Tone A documentary (like any film) can have different tones:  serious  light-hearted  optimistic  pessimistic  celebratory  condemnatory  resigned  uncritical  ironic
  3. 3. Narrative: Narrative Structure 1 In ‘Film Art: an Introduction’, American film scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson identify four types of narrative structure in documentary: 1. Story-telling: stories about people, events, places, … 2. Categorical: conveying information by ‘chunking’ it into various categories. 3. Rhetorical: presenting an argument to persuade the audience to adopt an opinion on an issue and perhaps to act on that opinion. A typical structure for rhetorical form is: • introduction to the problem • discussion of the facts • what to do about the problem • summary epilogue. 1. Associational: suggesting links between images that might not have any obvious connection.
  4. 4. Narrative: Rhetorical Narrative Typical features of rhetorical narrative are that it:  Presents a reasoned argument  Appeals to the emotions  Addresses the audience directly e.g. to camera or by voiceover  Uses repeated motifs to emphasise its argument e.g. recurring images, sounds, phrases  Suppresses, mocks or criticises contrary opinions  Encourages the audience to act.
  5. 5. Narrative: Argumentation Schemes  When we construct arguments about issues we use a number of typical ways of arguing (argumentation schemes).  The fact that a scheme is used does not mean the argument is valid.  Examples of argumentation schemes are:  Problem-solving: “If X is a problem, then do Y”  Numbers: “If number X is too large/small, then do Y to reduce/increase X”  Authority: “As expert X says …”  History: “History teaches us that …”  Illustration: “As the situation in X shows …”  Comparison: “If X can do A then so can Y.”
  6. 6. Narrative: Narrative Codes  One can analyse narrative in terms of overall structure. However narrative can also be analysed in terms of narrative codes which work moment-by-moment in a text.  One of the most important is the enigmatic code. Focusing on the enigmatic code lets us view a film as a sequence of questions and answers. The film poses enigmas (questions) which engage the viewer’s attention and these questions may, or may not be, resolved (answered) by the end of the film.