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  1. 1. Expository DocumentaryMost TV documentaries follow the expositorymodel. This type of documentary has often beencriticised because of the deliberate way it triesto influence the audience.‘Voice of God commentary and poetic perspectives sought todisclose information about the historical world itself and to seethat world afresh, even if these views came to seem romanticand didactic’ (Nichols, 1991, p.32-33) Uses voice-over and have straight forward show and tell structure (with graphics, interviews, footage) where the viewer is guided through the material. E.g. Hoop Dreams (James et al, 1994), Spellbound (Blitz, 2003) NEGATIVE: OVERLY DIDACTIC
  2. 2. Observational DocumentaryThe filmmaker producing the observationaldocumentary should (in theory) record the actionand package it for the audience without lettinghis own opinions influence the decisions made inpost-production. ‘… to record unobtrusively what people did when they were not explicitly addressing the camera… but it limited the filmmaker to the present moment and required disciplined detachment from the events themselves’ (Grierson)The filmmaker takes a step back from the material and takes a‘neutral’ stance on the subject matter.However, this could open up debates about selection of material,lack of voice over and editing devices.E.g. Être et Avoir (Philibert, 2002) Sleep Furiously (GideonKoppel, 2008)NEGATIVE: LACKS HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  3. 3. Interactive DocumentaryThe filmmaker becomes the star in the interactivedocumentary, and we often see or hear them. Theyactively engage with the material. There is noattempt to hide personal perspectives, and theopinion of the filmmaker will often be clear fromthe beginning of the film. ‘Interactive documentary arose from the desire to make the filmmaker’s perspective more evident. Interview styles and interventionist tactics arose, allowing the filmmaker to participate more actively in the events’E.g. Nick Broomfield, Michael Moore, MorganSpurlock.Some overlap with other modes, e.g. Performative,NEGATIVE: EXCESSIVE FAITH IN HISTORY, TOO INTRUSIVE
  4. 4. Reflexive DocumentaryThe reflexive documentary plays with theconventions of all of the previous types. Thefilmmaker will not attempt to push a particularposition on the audience, but draw attention tothe devices used in the documentary. ‘Reflexive documentary arose from the desire to make the conventions of representations themselves more apparent and challenge the impression of reality which the other three models normally conveyed unproblematically’This mode raises interesting points about objectivity,techniques, realism and ‘truth’.There seems to be a personal ‘voice’ emerging from thesefilms.E.g. Capturing the Friedmans (Jarecki, 2005), Touchingthe Void (McDonald, 2002), Joy Division (Grant Gee, 2008)NEGATIVE: TOO ABSTRACT, LOSES SIGHT OF ACTUAL ISSUES
  5. 5. Poetic DocumentaryCodes emphasise visual associations, tonal orrhythmic qualities, descriptive passages, andfavours mood, tone and texture. Art or avant-garde are good examples. The poetic mode of documentary moves away from the "objective" reality of a given situation or people to grasp at an inner "truth" that can only be grasped by poetical manipulation.Uses associative editing to create mood or tone withoutmaking an explicit arguments about a subject.E.g. Leni Riefenstahls Olympia (1938) presents a glorified viewof (Aryan) athletes during the 1936 Olympic GamesRobert Flahertys Man of Aran (1934) - dramatic framing ofmaterial presents mythic image of man in harmony with natureNEGATIVE: LACK OF SPECIFICS
  6. 6. Performative DocumentaryWhere the interactive mode engages the filmmakerto the story but attempts to constructs truths,the performative mode engages the filmmaker tothe story but constructs subjective truths thatare significant to the filmmaker him or herself. Deeply personal, the performative mode is particularly well- suited to telling the stories of filmmakers from marginalized social groups, offering the chance to air unique perspectives without having to argue the validity of their experiences.May "mix" elements of various documentary modes to achievelink between subjective knowledge/understanding of theworld, and more general understandings, i.e. historicalonese.g. Night and Fog (haunting personal commentary as wellas expository, it’s a film about memory.)NEGATIVE: TOO SUBJECTIVE
  7. 7. Expository ObservationalInteractive Reflexive Poetic Performative