HISTORY AND THEORY OF THE DOCUMENTARY FILM
http://www.albany.edu/faculty/gz580/docfilmshistory

Course Syllabus and On-Line Resource Links
Fall 2011


DOC. STUDIES 405 / HISTORY 405 / HISTORY 605
Prof. Gerald Zahavi
Dept. of History, University at Albany-SUNY
Classroom: ES 245
Course Schedule:
Mon. 4:15-7:05
Office: SS 060R

Phone: 518-442-5427
Office Hrs: Mon. 1:30-3:30 & Tues 1:30-3:30
and by appointment
E-mail: zahavi@albany.edu

COURSE INTRODUCTION:

This course will introduce students to the history and theory of documentary cinema. We will review and analyze – through extensive readings and viewings – the evolution of the documentary film genre and the varieties of approaches adopted by non-fiction filmmakers engaged in producing films focusing on diverse political, economic, cultural, social, and historical subjects. We will systematically unravel the various elements and the techniques that contribute to the creation of informative, moving, and powerful documentary films. We'll look at the modes or styles that have evolved in the course of the genre's development: expository, observational, interactive, reflective, and assorted hybrid modes. We'll also explore a number of other important areas that are central in documentary filmmaking, including ethical and legal questions and the importance of deep and thorough research. Finally, in the second part of the course, we'll devote considerable time to exploring recent documentary work in political, biographical, autobiographical, historical, scientific/environmental, labor, and other subjects.

This course will provide students with a solid historical and theoretical foundation in documentary filmmaking and prepare them for a variety of production courses offered on campus.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:

The following statement of policy is required by the University at Albany: It is assumed that your intellectual labor is your own. If there is any evidence of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, the minimum penalty will be an automatic failing grade for that piece of work. Plagiarism is taking (which includes purchasing) the words and ideas of another and passing them off as one’s own work. If another person’s work is quoted directly in a formal paper, this must be indicated with quotation marks and a citation. Paraphrased or borrowed ideas are to be identified by proper citations.

ASSIGNMENTS / GRADING:

Grades will be based on:

UNDERGRADUATES:

* class attendance, preparation, and participation -- both in class and on Blackboard (20%).
* tests/quizzes: Three (3) over the course of semester (Oct. 3, Nov. 7, Dec. 5). The best two grades out of three will count toward your final grade (40%)
* final project (40%): a documentary film proposal & treatment (10-12 pages). Due December 10. The treatment should include: 1) a thorough and well documented (and footnoted!) discussion and justification of the style/mode you intend to use, including a survey of films and filmmakers whose approach has inspired your choice; 2) an overall sketch/summary of your entire film, including: a discussion of its subject and rationale; the central characters, locales, and events it will cover; its organization; and its core story themes and segments. I will distribute and talk about several examples of film treatments in class so you will have a sense of what is expected of you; and 3) a comprehensive bibliography -- both primary and secondary sources -- which includes films, archival film/audio sources, articles, books, and archival document/photograph collections relevant to your film project.

GRADUATE STUDENTS:

* class attendance, preparation, and participation -- both in class and on Blackboard (20%).
* tests/quizzes: Three (3) over the course of semester (Oct. 3, Nov. 7, Dec. 5). The best two grades out of the three will count toward your final grade (40%).
* final project (40%): a documentary film proposal & treatment (20-25 pages). Due December 10. The treatment should include: 1) a thorough and well documented (and footnoted!) discussion and justification of the style/mode you intend to use, including a survey of films and filmmakers whose approach has inspired your choice; 2) an overall sketch/summary of your entire film, including: a discussion of its subject and rationale; the central characters, locales, and events it will cover; its organization; and its core story themes and segments. I will distribute and talk about several examples of film treatments in class so you will have a sense of what is expected of you; and 3) a comprehensive bibliography -- both primary and secondary sources -- which includes films, archival film/audio sources, articles, books, and archival document/photograph collections relevant to your film project.

 

READINGS:

  • REQUIRED: (these are our core texts; they will be extensively supplemented by readings and resources on electronic and library reserve). Some changes may be made in reading assignments in the course of the semester. These will be announced well in advance and will generally take the form of substitutions or reductions in readings, and occasional additions to the "Recommended readings/media" lists.
    • Jack C. Ellis and Betsy A. McLane, A New History of Documentary Film (Continuum, 2005).
    • Sheila Curran Bernard, Documentary Storytelling: Making Stronger and More Dramatic Nonfiction Films, 3rd edition (Focal Press, 2010). [A new edition is scheduled to come during the semester.]
    • Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Slonoiowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (Wayne State University Press, 1998).
    • Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, Second Edition (W. W. Norton & Co., 1979)
    • Misc. journal articles, chapters, essays and media -- most will be made available on the class Blackboard site. All readings on that site are identified with "[BLS]" and may be accessed there.

  • RECOMMENDED:

~ ~ ~

Class 1 (Monday, Aug. 29): Introduction to the Course and to Documentary Film

Overview of course
Class discussion of definitions, forms, conventions
Film selection viewing and discussion

 

PART I: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE DOCUMENTARY FILM GENRE: HISTORICAL AND THEORETICAL DIMENSIONS

Class 2 (Monday, Sept. 12: Narrative and Non-narrative Filmmaking and the Origins and Early History of Documentary Films

Required Readings:

Recommended Reading/Viewing:

Class 3 (Monday, Sept. 19): The Work of Edward S. Curtis and Robert Flaherty and the Ethnographic Foundations of American Documentary Filmmaking

Required Readings:

  • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 12-26.
  • William Rothman, "The Filmmaker as Hunter: Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (Detroit, 1998), pp. 23-39.
  • Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, 2nd edition (New York, 1979): 12-28.
  • Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North (film) [BLS].
  • Robert Flaherty, "How I Filmed 'Nanook of the North,'" World's Work (October 1922): 632-640. http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/wava/Flaherty/filmed.html.
  • Deane Williams on Flaherty (from Sense of Cinema, an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema): http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/02/flaherty.html
  • Link to Robert Flaherty-related Web sites: http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/wava/Flaherty/
  • Edward S. Curtis' The North American Indian. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html.
  • Robert Flaherty, "How I Filmed 'Nanook of the North,'" World's Work (October 1922): 632-640. http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/wava/Flaherty/filmed.html.
  • Deane Williams on Flaherty (from Sense of Cinema, an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema): http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/02/flaherty.html
  • Link to Robert Flaherty-related Web sites: http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/wava/Flaherty/
  • Edward S. Curtis' The North American Indian. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html.
  • Recommended Reading/Viewings:

    • Paul Rotha, Robert J. Flaherty: A Biography (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983). Web version: http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/wava/Flaherty/title.html.
    • Mick Gidley, Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian (Cambridge University Press, 1998).
    • Barbara A. Davis, Edward S. Curtis: The Life and Times of a Shadow Catcher (San Francisco, 1985).
    • Laurie Lawlor, Shadow Catcher: The Life and Work of Edward S. Curtis (New York, 1994).
    • Nanook of the North. 1922. A film by Robert Flaherty.
    • Moana. 1926. A film by Robert Flaherty. [Selections to be shown in class]
    • The Shadow Catcher: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians. 1993. A film by T.C. McLuhan. [Selections to be shown in class].
    • In the land of the war canoes: Kwakiutl Indian life on the Northwest Coast. 1914. A film by Edward S. Curtis. [Selections to be shown in class].
    Class 4 (Monday, Sept. 26): The Soviet Documentary Movement of the 1920s

    Required Readings/Viewings:

    • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 27-43.
    • The Man with the Movie Camera. 1929. Dziga Vertov. [Available through link at the bottom of this page.]
    • Seth Feldman, "'Peace between Man and Machine': Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camera," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (Detroit, 1998). pp. 40-54.
    • Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, 2nd edition, [pp. 29-42 and 53-59]
    • Annette Michelson, ed., Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov (Univ. of California Press, 1984), Read the introduction, pp. 6-21 & pp. 40-50 (skip the rest). [Available through link at bottom of page].
    • Jonathan Dawson on Vertov (from Sense of Cinema, an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema): http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/03/vertov.html
    • Graham Roberts, Forward Soviet!: History and Non-fiction Film in the USSR (St. Martin's Press, 1999), ch.3 ("Esfir Shub and the Great Way Forward"). [See link to this reading at bottom of this page.]

    Recommended Readings/Films:

    Class 5 (Monday, Oct. 3): Documentary Movements of the 1920s and Early 1930s: Experiments in Montage, Compilation, Abstractionism, Surrealism, and Impressionism

    EXAM #1 Scheduled. Multiple choice, short answer, and fill-in exam. Will cover all material up to this date, including below assignments.

    Required Readings:

  • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 44-56.
  • Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, 2nd edition, pp. 37-42 and 60-63.
  • Rain. 1929. Joris Ivens. [Available at www.archive.org: http://www.archive.org/details/Regen].
  • Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. 1927. Walter Ruttmann. [Available at ww.archive.org: http://www.archive.org/details/BerlinSymphonyofaGreatCity].
  • Vivian Sobchack, "Synthetic Vision: The Dialectical Imperatives of Luis Buñuel Las Hurdes," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (Detroit, 1998). pp. 70-82.
  • William Guynn, "The Art of National Projection: Basil Wright's Song of Ceylon," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (Detroit, 1998). pp. 83-98.
  • Recommended Readings/Films:

    • Land Without Bread. 1932. Luis Buñuel. [Selections to be viewed in class].
    • William Rothman, Documentary Film Classics (New York, 1997), pp. 21-38 (Chapter 2, "Land Without Bread"). [BLS]
    • The Bridge. 1928. Joris Ivens.
    • Rien que les heurs [Nothing But the Hours]. 1926. Alberto Cavalcanti.
    • H2O. Ralph Steiner (1929).
    • Mannahatta. Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand. 1921.

    Class 6: (Monday, Oct. 10): Social Documentary and the Anglo-American Documentary Movements of the 1930s

    Required Readings:

    • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 57-104.
    • David Davidson, "Depression America and the Rise of the Social Documentary Film." Chicago Review 34.1 (Summer 1983): 69-88. [BLS]
    • Charlie Keil, "American Documentary Finds Its Voice: Persuasion and Expression in The Plow That Broke the Plains and The City," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (Detroit, 1998), pp. 119-135.
    • Selections from Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, pp. 64-65; 101-115; 123-125.
    • The Plow that Broke the Plains (Film: Pare Lorenz, 1936). Available at www.archive.org: http://www.archive.org/details/gov.archives.arc.13595.dup
    • The City (1939) Available at: http://www.archive.org/details/CityTheP1939 (part 1) and http://www.archive.org/details/CityTheP1939_2 (part 2).
    • John Corner, “Coalface and Housing Problems (1935)” in The Art of Record (Manchester and New York: Manchester UP, 1996), 56-71. [BLS]

    Recommended Readings/Films:

    Class 7 (Monday, Oct. 17): Documentary Filmmaking and the Rise of Fascism in the 1930s

    Required Readings/Viewings:

    • Frank P. Tomasulo, “The Mass Psychology of Fascist Cinema: Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will,” in Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State, 1998), 99-118.
    • Thomas Waugh, "'Men Cannot Act Before the Camera in the Presence of Death:' Joris Ivens's The Spanish Earth in Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State, 1998), 136-153.
    • Selections from Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, pp. 136-180.
    • The Spanish Earth (Joris Ivens, 1937).
    • Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1936).

    Recommended Readings:

    • David B. Hinton, “The Nuremberg Trilogy,” The Films of Leni Riefenstahl (Lanham,Maryland: Scarecrow, 2000), 19-46. [BLS]
    • Richard M. Barsam, "Leni Riefenstahl: Artifice and Truth in a World Apart," in Barsam, Nonfiction Film Theory and Criticism (New York, 1976), pp. 250-262. [BLS]
    • The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Film, 1994)
    • Manohla Daris, “Leni Riefenstahl, Art, and Propaganda,” in Kevin Macdonald and Mark Cousins, eds., Imagining Reality (Boston and London: Faber and Faber, 1996), 129-135.

    Class 8 (Monday, Oct. 24): Documenting War in Canada, Great Britain, and the U.S.: World War II and the Post-War Era

    Required Readings:

  • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 105-147.
  • Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, 2nd ed., 205-250.
  • Jim Leach, “The Poetics of Propaganda: Humphrey Jennings and Listen to Britain," in Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State, 1998), 154-170.
  • Listen to Britain (Humphrey Jennings, 1942). Available at: http://www.archive.org/details/gov.archives.arc.38651
  • Frank Capra, Why We Fight series (7-part). Sample selections. All are available on www.archive.org. The first in the series is available at: http://www.archive.org/details/wwf_prelude_to_war.
  • Recommended Readings/Viewings:

  • Richard Dyer MacCann, "World War II: Armed Forces Documentary," in Richard M. Barsam, ed., Nonfiction Film Theory and Criticism (New York, 1976), 136-157.
  • H. Forsyth Hardy, "British Documentaries in the War," in Richard M. Barsam, ed., Nonfiction Film Theory and Criticism (New York, 1976), 167-172.
  • Lindsey Anderson, "Only Connect: Some Aspects of the Work of Humphrey Jennings," in Richard M. Barsam, ed., Nonfiction Film Theory and Criticism (New York, 1976), 263-270.
  • Kevin Macdonal and Mark Cousins, Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary (London: Faber and Faber, 1996), pp. 141-150.
  • Misc. U.S. and British government films produced during WWII -- see http://www.archives.org.

  • Class 9 (Monday, Oct. 31): The Emergence of Television Documentaries

    Required Readings:

    • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp.167-195.
    • Selections from Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, pp. 327-333.
    • Keith Beattie, “The Evening Report: Television Documentary Journalism,” Documentary Screens: Non-Fiction Film and Television (New York: Palgrave, 2004): 161-181. [BLS]
    • Jeffrey K. Ruoff, “'A Bastard Union of Several Forms,' Style and Narrative in An American Family," in Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State, 1998), 286-301.
    • Thomas Rosteck, See It Now Confronts McCarthyism: Television Documentary and the Politics of Representation (Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1994), chapters 1 and 6 [“McCarthyism, the Red Scare, and the Television Industry” (11-24) and “Argument and the News Documentary: ‘A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’” (112-141)]. [BLS]
    • Richard J. Schaefer, “Reconsidering Harvest of Shame: The Limitations of a Broadcast Journalism Landmark,” Journalism History 19.4 (1994). [BLS]
    • Harvest of Shame [TV CBS Reports documentary, 1960; Edward R. Murrow]. [BLS]
    Recommended Readings/Viewings:
  • Michael Curtin, “Television News Comes of Age” (120-151) and “Documentaries of the Home Front” (152-176), Redeeming the Wasteland: Television Documentary and Cold War Politics (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1995.
  • See it Now [CBS documentary series, 1951-58].

  • Class 10 (Monday, Nov. 7): Direct Cinema and Cinema Verité

    EXAM #2 Scheduled. Multiple choice, short answer, and fill-in exam. Will cover all material up to this date, including below assignments.

    Required Readings:

    • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 196-226.
    • Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, 2nd ed., 367-382; 400-429; 437-443; 459-461; 477-482; 492-499.
    • Barry Keith Grant, “Ethnography in the First Person: Frederick Wiseman’s Titicut Follies,” in Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. (Detroit, 1998), 238-253.
    • Jeanne Hall, "'Don't You Ever Just Watch?' American Cinema Verité and Don't Look Back," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. (Detroit, 1998), 223-237.
    • WATCH Titicut Follies (1967). Sample one or more of the below, available in our library and in many regional libraries.
      • Robert Drew, et al., Primary (1960).
      • D. A. Pennebaker, Don't Look Back (1966).
      • Albert and David Maysles, Salesman (1969).

    Recommended Readings/Films:

    • M. Ali Issari and Doris A. Paul, What is Cinema Verite (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1979): pp. 3-31 & 67-104.
    • Jean Rouch, Cine-Ethnography, Ed. and trans. Steven Feld (Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 2003), selections; 29-46; 229-265; 275-329.
    • Carolyn Anderson and Thomas Benson, “Direct Cinema and the Myth of Informed Consent: The Case of Titicut Follies,” in Larry Gross, John Stuart Katz, and Jay Ruby, eds., Image Ethics: The Moral Rights of Subjects in Photographs, Film, and Television (New York: Oxford UP, 1988), 58-90.
    • Erik Barnouw, “Guerilla” (262-293), Documentary: A History of Nonfiction Film (New York: Oxford UP, 1993).
    • Jeanne Lynn Hall, “Realism as a Style in Cinema Verite: A Critical Analysis of Primary,” Cinema Journal 30(4): 24-50.
    • Stella Bruzzi, “The President and the Image: Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton” New Documentary: A Critical Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2000), 127-152.
    • Stephen Mamber, “Direct Cinema and the Crisis Structure,” Cinema Verite in America: Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT, 1974): 115-140.
    • Carolyn Anderson and Thomas Benson, Documentary Dilemmas: Frederick Wiseman’s Titicut Follies (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991).
    • Jean Rouch, Chronicle of a Summer (1961) [See, as well, some of Rouch's West African and French ethnographic films, such as Jaguar, The Lion Hunters, and Cocorico, Monsieur Poulet]
    • Shawn J. Parry-Giles and Trevor Parry Giles, “Meta-Imaging, The War Room, and the Hypperreality of U.S. Politics,” Journal of Communication 49:1 (1999): 28-45.

    PART II : THE RANGE OF RECENT AND CONTEMPORARY
    DOCUMENARY FILMMAKING

    Class 11 (Monday, Nov. 14): Documenting Protest / Protesting with Documentary

    Required Readings:

    • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 227-292.
    • Sheila Curran Bernard, Documentary Storytelling: Making Stronger and More Dramatic Nonfiction Films, 2nd edition (Focal Press, 2007), pp. 113-174.
    • Lewis Jacobs, ed., The Documentary Tradition, 2nd ed., 514-576.
    • Matthew Bernstein, "Documentaphobia and Mixed Modes: Michael Moore's Roger and Me," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. (Detroit, 1998), 238-253.
    • Roger and Me (Michael Moore, 1989). [BLS]
    • Harlan County, USA (Barbara Kopple, 1976). [BLS]
    • Liz Stubbs, Documentary Filmmakers Speak, 209-220.
    Recommended Readings/Viewings:
  • Michael Moore, Capitalism: a Love Story (2009); Sicko (2007); Farenheit 9/11 (2004); Bowling for Columbine (2002); Roger and Me (1989).
  • John Hanson and Rob Nilsson, Prairie Trilogy (Prairie Fire, 30 mins, B&W, 1978; Rebel Earth,60 mins, B&W, 1980; Survivor, 30 mins, B&W, 1980).
  • Peter Davis, Hearts and Minds (1974).
  • Tony Grajeda, "The winning and losing of hearts and minds: Vietnam, Iraq, and the Claims of the war documentary," Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media 49 (Spring 2007).
  • Labor documentaries: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/LaborVid.html
  • Tom Zaniello. Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films About Labor. By Ithaca, NY, ILR Press, 2003.
  • Emile De Antonio, Point of Order (1963); In the Year of the Pig (1968).
  • "George Stoney, Documentary Filmmaking, and the Uprising of '34." Interview with George Stoney, by Gerald Zahavi, September 23, 2004. Part 1: Real Media. MP3. Time: 30:04; Part 2: Real Media. MP3. Time: 18:40. Originally aired on Talking History. The interview focuses on Stoney's various projects, including field work under Howard University's Ralph Bunch for Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, and ollaborations on over 50 films, including the historical documentary, "The Uprising of '34." Stoney has taught filmmaking at NYU for more than three decades.
  • Class 12 (Monday, Nov. 21): Self and Society: The Autobiographical Documentary

    Required Readings:

  • Ellis and McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, pp. 293-325.
  • Lucy Fischer, "Documentary Film and the Discourse of Hysterical/Historical Narrative: Ross McElwee's Sherman's March," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. (Detroit, 1998), 333-343.
  • Scott MacDonald, “Southern Exposure: An Interview with Ross McElwee,” Film Quarterly 41.4 (Summer, 1988), 13-23. [BLS]
  • Ross McElwee, Sherman's March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South during an Era of Nuclear Proliferation (1986).
  • Alan Berliner, Nobody's Business 1986).

  • Recommended Readings/Viewings
    :

  • Jim Lane, The Autobiographical Documentary in America (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2002).
  • Judith Helfand, A Healthy Baby Girl (1997).
  • Tom Joslin and Peter Friedman, Silverlake Life: The View from Here (2003)
  • Class 13 (Monday, Nov. 28): Political, Historical, and Investigative Documentaries

    Required Readings:

  • Liz Stubbs, Documentary Filmmakers Speak, 69-91. [BLS]
  • Linda Williams, "Mirrors Without Memories: Truth, History, and The Thin Blue Line," in Barry Keith Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski, eds., Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. (Detroit, 1998), 333-343.
  • George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire (Paul Stekler) [BLS]
  • The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2002) or The Thin Blue Line (1988). [BLS]
  • Script for Errol Morris, The Fog of War (2002). Go to: http://www.errolmorris.com/film/fow_transcript.html.
  • A Midwife's Tale. PBS Web site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/mwt/index.html

  • Recommended Readings/Viewings:

  • The War Room (Hegedus and Pennebaker, 1993).
  • The Man from Plains (Jonathan Demme, 2007).
  • Ken Burns, The Shakers (1984), Huey Long (1985), Congress (1988), Thomas Hart Benton (1988), The Civil War (1990), Baseball (1994), The West (1996), Lewis & Clark (1997), , Thomas Jefferson (1997), Frank Lloyd Wright (1998), Not for Ourselves Alone: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (1999), Jazz (2001), Mark Twain (2001), The Way (2007).
  • Dr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred E. Leuchter, Jr. (Film / Errol Morris, 1999).
  • Chicken Ranch (Film / Nick Broomfield, 1983)
  • Class 14 (Monday, Dec. 5): Narrative and Non-narrative Approaches in Science, Nature, and Ethnographic Documentary Filmmaking

    EXAM #3 Scheduled. Multiple choice, short answer, and fill-in exam. Will cover all material up to this date, including below assignments.

    Required Readings:

  • An Inconvenient Truth (Film / Davis Guggenheim, 2006). [BLS] -- watch first 15 minutes and selections, at least.
  • March of the Penguins (Film / Luc Jacquet, 2005). [BLS] -- watch first 15 minutes and selections, at least.
  • Jean Rouch ~ The Screening Room Interview (Interview of Jean Rouch by Robert Gardner) (Film / Robert Gardner, 1980). [BLS].
  • Ákos Östör, Robert Gardner, Making Forest of Bliss: Intention, Circumstance, and Chance in Nonfiction Film (Harvard Univ. Press, 2001), selection. [BLS].
  • Forest of Bliss (Film / Robert Gardner, 90 mins, 1978.) [BLS] -- watch first 15 minutes and selections, at least.
  • Gregg Mitman, Reel Nature: America's Romance with Wildlife on Film (Seattle: Univesity of Washington Press, 1999), 59-84, 209-220.
  • Recommended Readings/Viewings:

  • Planet Earth (Film series, BBC, 2006)
  • Winged Migration (Film, Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, 2001).
  • Derek Bousé, Wildlife Films (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000). Chapter 2 (pp. 37-83) offers a fine, brief history of wildlife films. [BLS].
  • Mick Eaton, Anthropology, reality, cinema: the films of Jean Rouch (London: British Film Institute, 1979).
  • Paul Hockings, ed., Principles of visual anthropology.2d ed. New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1995. See, especially, "History of Ethnographic Film."
  • Peter Loizos, Innovation in ethnographic film: from innocence to self-consciousness, 1955-85 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
  • Jay Ruby, ed., The Cinema of John Marshall (Philadelphia, Penn.: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1993).
  • December 12: FINAL PROJECT DUE [submit project electronically as an email attachment or through Blackboard. I'll acknowledge receiving it with an email response.]

    ~ End ~

    Documentary Filmmaking: History and Theory ~ Course Syllabus
    Copyright © 2010 by Prof. Gerald Zahavi

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    Updated 8-29-2011