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  • 1. FILM STUDIES FM4 Varieties of Film Experience – Issues and Debates Spectatorship and Documentary Your answer should be based on a minimum of two films. SUMMER 2011 With reference to the films you have studied for this topic, how far can it be said 
that different kinds of documentaries offer different kinds of spectator experiences? ‘Documentaries should never be trusted.’ How important to the spectator is the 
sense that they should trust the documentary filmmaker? Refer to the films you 
have studied for this topic. WINTER 2012 ‘Relatively few documentaries are seen on cinema screens; most are seen on small screens in private rather than public spaces.’ How far do viewing contexts influence the spectator’s response to documentary film? To what extent can it be said that spectators approach documentary films with greater critical awareness than when they watch fiction films?
  • 2. SUMMER 2012 Grierson defined documentary as the ‘creative treatment of actuality’. What are some of the key issues raised by this definition for spectators of documentary? ‘A common experience for the spectator when watching a documentary is to be manipulated by the filmmakers.’ How far do you agree with this statement? WINTER 2013 How far is the spectator challenged by issues of manipulation in documentary film? Refer to the films you have studied for this topic. What are some of the pleasures that viewing a documentary film offers the spectator? Refer to the films you have studied for this topic. SUMMER 2013 How far are documentaries more challenging to the spectator because they appear to represent real life characters and situations? The best documentaries are those which are aware of the need to engage spectators cinematically.’ How far do you agree with this statement?
  • 3. OTHER QUESTIONS THAT COULD COME UP: Compare different documentary techniques employed to present the 'real', 
discussing their impact on the spectator. Refer to at least two documentaries you 
have studied. Do you agree that as spectators we are more likely to accept at face value 
what we see and hear in documentary films? How far is it preferable as a spectator to be presented with a documentary that 
offers a very definite point of view towards its subject? Refer to the films you have 
studied for this topic. ‘For the spectator, the viewing of documentary films is really no different from 
that of viewing fiction films.’ With reference to the films you have studied for this 
topic, how far do you agree with this view? ‘Watching real people and real events in documentaries creates a very 
particular relationship between the spectator and the screen.’ How far has this 
been your experience of the films you have studied for this topic? ‘The best documentaries are the ones that make their point of view clear.’ How 
far do you agree?