My chosen style of documentary is Dispatches. The show reflects a hard hittingjournalistic approach, focusing on issues within and outside the UK. Dispatches is featured regularly on channel four. My first chosen analysis is ‘Dispatches: InGod’s Name’, which first featured in 2008 and focused on the growing Christianfundamentalist movement in the UK. The story follows several of the groups key members, as well as providing us with a general overview of the group.
Camera work- Several mid shots are used throughout the beginning sequence, showing some of the members holding placards depicting particularly offensive views.Introduction –One of the opening shots focuses onwhat the interviewer describes as thegrowing number of ‘British hard-lineChristians’, who hold demonstrationsagainst controversial topics such asgay rights and abortions. The voiceover is delivered in a serious tone butis done to inform audiences, bydetailing background information onthe Christian fundamentalistmovement. Representation - However these shots are purposeful in creating a negative representation of the fundamentalist movement from the outset, by showing these dedicated followers congregating on the streets to publicly voice their strong views on gay rights.
Camera work- Hand held camera work is used to capture part of the demonstration. By using a hand held camera it adds to the chaos and disarray surrounding the activists. Hand held camera work is also a common feature in all forms of documentaries. Lighting - is particularly dark and dingy which connotes the idea that there is a darker truth behind these hard line Christian fundamentalists, which has yet to be uncovered.Camera shots - Close up shots are a commonoccurrence throughout the documentary including here.They effectively display the individual’s emotions andfacial expressions when talking about issues close tothe heart.
There are several one on By having the interviews take place in aone interview’s with key home environment, this makes themembers of the Christian documentary more personal andfundamentalist movement, intimate, as the audience can forge athroughout the programme. greater connection with these individuals. It also creates this sense of normality and day to day life by showing them in their natural environment. The mid shot is directly eye level, allowing the audience to feel as if they are having a personable conversation with the individual on camera.
Dispatches often looks to go beneath the surface tofind the hidden story and this documentary is nodifferent, as we are taken deeper into the world ofChristian fundamentalists. The guest presenter oftenuses the voice over to air his scepticism surroundingthe group and its key individuals. However, he alsoprovides audiences with background information andfacts to inform the viewing public.
Most of the key members of the Christian fundamentalist arepresented in a negative light throughout the documentary. Thisnegative image stems from the very first demonstration, tothem handing out leaflets concerning their views on gay rights.There are various close ups used to display the individualsfacial expressions. However, many of the shots used displayan individual presenting angry facial gestures, suggesting theyshould be viewed as an aggressive fundamentalist movement. There is the sense that Dispatches looks to ridicule the group by exposing them in a negative way. Some of the key members of the movement are often presented in a hostile and unwelcoming manner.
Camera Shots - A point of view shot is used while travelling alongside Andrea Williams, who is a key figure of the lawyer’s Christian fellowship, often responsible for organising various demonstrations. The shot is used to allow us to see the world through Andrea eyes and look at her perspective of events and views.Interview Style - Andrea is faced with much scrutinisation fromthe guest presenter with deliberate questions such as ‘how oldthe world is?’ As many are aware Christians have uniqueviews concerning such issues such as evolution. Even thoughthe question is used to evoke a reaction, it is also stereotypicalof a hard hitting documentary, to ask the often difficultquestions. Setting – This is key as the camera crew are travelling alongside her while driving, giving us the sense that we are also taking part in her journey, as we follow her daily life.
In some documentaries which surroundparticularly controversial issues, it is notuncommon for people to wish to remainanonymous. One scene features awoman who wished not to be identifiedbut spoke of her disapproval of thefundamentalist movement on camera,adding further to their negativerepresentation. In addition, there was yet another individual who wished to remain anonymous but spoke at a conference. The unnamed individual told of how he turned away from his Islamic faith to become a fully fledged Christian. On screen text also appears, this is a common feature in a documentary.
Voice Over - Often the voice over will continue overseveral different shots. This is done to build paceand create a theme of continuality, as we delvedeeper into the unfolding story. However, the voiceover is often negative with the presenter conveyinghis scepticism of the group leading us further to anegative representation. Music - Non diegetic music can be heard in the beginning sequences as the story opens, creating a dramatic impact. In one of the last scenes we are presented with a shot of a waving flag accompanied by members of the church singing. The camera remains focused on the flag while they continue to sing. This is symbolic as it shows the church are united and strong in their beliefs, despite the growing hostility towards their movement, as the views they share continually contradict those held by secular society.