Digital Video Non-Fiction Film Abstract Film Documentary Film Directors Norman McLaren and Jennifer Baichwal
Styles and Types (Modes) of Films REALISM CLASSICISM FORMALISM Documentary F I C T I O N Avant-Garde Manufactured Landscapes Boogie Doodle Mon Oncle Antoine Men With Brooms waydowntown NB. These are not airtight categories and often overlap. styles Types (modes)
Non -Fiction Films The term nonfiction commonly applies to documentary cinema but also avant-garde film. These two modes -- documentary realism and avant-garde formalism both start from a suspicion of the use of spectacle and narrative in fiction films to involve spectators in a world of fantasy and illusion. Thoughts? The distinction between fiction and nonfiction is not always easy to make.
Avant Garde Films (Experimental) Avant garde films either do not tell stories or tell stories that are highly personal and simulate inner thought. The objective is to explore the formal properties of film as a medium and the ways these properties can be used to evoke inner experience of artists. Many avant garde filmmakers value chance and spontaneity in their movies and avoid scripts.
Norman McLaren — Auteur . From http://www.nfb.ca/portraits/norman_mclaren/en/ “ As an animator and filmmaker, Norman McLaren was a poet, for whom images, color, sounds and music had special resonances which he was capable of exploring in their entire range and magnitude. Today, more than fifty films remain as evidence of his gifts.” In 1941, at the invitation of John Grierson, who had become Canada's first Government Film Commissioner, McLaren joined the National Film Board. Over his career, he made 59 films, most leaning towards experimental animation, with music as an important element.
Russian Constructivists In art and architecture, constructivism was an artistic movement in Russia from 1914 in favour of "pure" art with no social function which used designs influenced by, and materials used in, industry. Prominent constructivists include Antoine Pevsner, Naum Gabo and Kasimir Malevich. Below is Malevich’s “Black on White.”
Boogie Doodle (Norman McLaren, 1940) Norman McLaren literally does what the title says, to a fast paced boogie woogie tune he intertwines the movement on screen and the rhythm of the soundtrack, giving us a Boogie Doodle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgJ-yOhpYIM From imdb Blinkity Blink (Norman McLaren, 1955) The surreal story of a bird and its cage with both their conflict and union. Synchromy (Norman McLaren, 1971) The film's soundtrack is an original musical composition produced with synthetic sound - through photographing unusual geometric shapes and running them through an optical sound head.
The Documentary Mode The documentary mode depends on the assumption that film images provide evidence of a state of affairs that exists in the world outside the film. That it’s “true.’ However no documentary is simply an objective representation of facts. Key question for the great documentary filmmakers … How do I create a convincing interpretation of reality without distorting the evidence?
Documentary: Ways of Storytelling* How does a film director take an idea, issue or actual event and turn it into a film that is interesting to watch? How are images and sound manipulated to heighten impact? How does the choice of narrator or storyteller affect the tone of the story being told? * From Constructing Reality series of documentaries by the NFB -- available in our U of L Library. This six-video anthology of documentaries explores questions central to media education.
Documentary: Shaping Reality Documentaries are constructions rather than transparent windows into “reality.” The focus here is on choices which need to be made in the process of constructing and editing films: images, words, sound effects, music and silence -- the tools that filmmakers use to create an experience for the audience.
Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal, 2006) 90 minutes http://www.playbackmag.com/articles/magazine/19980907/22971.html Best Documentary – 2007 Genie Awards Best Canadian Film – Toronto International Film Festival Best Canadian Film & Best Documentary - Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Nominated for Grand Jury Prize- Sundance 2007 Edward Burtynsky is internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of nature transformed by industry. Manufactured Landscapes follows Burtynsky to China, as he captures the effects of the country’s massive industrial revolution. This film leads us to meditate on human endeavour and its impact on the planet.
Questions: Manufactured Landscapes New Question: When it comes to “content” or “subject of investigation, what links closely with our assignment #2? Think about the “layers” of investigation. What ethical issues are raised? Where is the “cinematography” or photographic aesthetics on the style continuum? Comments on the “Production Design?” What art direction decisions were made? When does it become about the filmmaker and the audience? What’s the bias? Is there one? Does the juxtaposition of these sequences in split screen bring new information to the art of filmmaking?
Questions: Manufactured Landscapes Does the filmmaker create a convincing interpretation of reality without distorting the evidence? Is there such a thing as a completely candid film? What difference does the presence of the camera make for those who are under its scrutiny? Should the filmmaker be an uninvolved fly-on-the-wall who records life as it happens, or an engaged participant?