DMS 410 Non Fiction Film

Elder :: T 11am- 2:50pm :: CFA235

This course looks at extraordinary works of Documentary Film from its early raw explorations to its current resurgence in the popular imagination. (No boring documentaries will be seen in this class.) The course explores documentary styles including experimental docs, cinema verite, ‘fake docs’ and cutting edge contemporary work such as interactive docs, networked docs and hybrid genres. Particular focus is on the curious relationship between images of reality and reality itself, and on America’s fascination with reality media. Emphasis is placed on the shifting line between fiction and non-fiction, and misguided notions of documentary “truth”. We also address the ethical and artistic considerations of filming real people and real communities.

Students learn nonfiction critical theory and analyze filmic elements including visual narrativity, storytelling, camera work and editing strategies. Shot by shot, students learn how to identify the construction of each film – form, content, image, audio, and location methods. The course explores award-winning contemporary films with representations of gender issues, ethnicity, popular music, sexual orientation, murder, history, racism, climate change, landscape and love – in works of Wiseman, Maysles, Varda, Friedrich, Riggs, Morris, Oppenheimer, Jerecki, Herzog and others. Spanning more than a century, documentary film has had a far greater influence on narrative cinema than most people realize. Students develop analytical and interpretive media skills applicable to all visual media. Weekly film screenings, class discussion and reading assignments. Attendance is required as well as two papers and a take-home exam. Be prepared to see some exceptional films


<span style=”color: red;”>Fulfills Global and Thematic Pathways, Advanced Analysis, Advanced Theory, and Media and Culture requirements</span>