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Non-Fiction Film Theory, 222-301

Syllabus by Prof. P. R. Zimmerman, Ithaca College

This Spring, our course is dedicated to Erik Barnouw (1908-2001). Without his writing, lecturing, producing, archiving and curating, documentary would not be taught in colleges and universities.

A Discursive Tour Guide

"I was surprised to find that many people automatically assumed that any documentary film would inevitably be objective. Perhaps the term is unsatisfactory, but for me the distinction between the words document and documentary is quite clear. Do we demand objectivity in the evidence presented at a trial? No, the only demand is that each piece of evidence be as full a subjective, truthful, honest presentation of the witness's attitude as an oath on the Bible can produce from him." --Joris Ivens, from The Camera and I

"A post-modern ethnography is a cooperatively evolved text consisting of fragments of discourse intended to evoke in the minds of both reader and writer an emergent fantasy of a possible world of common-sense reality, and thus to provoke an aesthetic integration that will have a therapeutic effect. It is, in a word, poetry - not in its textual form, but in its return to the original context and function of poetry, which, by means of its performative break with everyday speech, evoked memories of the ethos of the community and thereby provoked hearers to act ethically." --Stephen Tyler, from "Post Modern Ethnography: From Document of the Occult to Occult Document"

"The documentary is not a step to fiction film but a step to freedom. Commercial fiction film is only real estate. When real auteurs, the Harvard Business School graduates, produce films, their concern is neither art nor ideas, but money. Maximize rents for a space called a seat. In documentaries, I confront our history on my own terms. Brecht said that only boots can be made to measure. He was right." --Emile De Antonio

"Both realist and experimental documentary forms have been politicized by feminist filmmakers who see their work as coming out of and having an audience in the women's movement. And in return, the exigencies, methods, and forms of organization within that ongoing political movement have profoundly affected the aesthetics of documentary film." --Julia Lesage

"This false outburst of racist discourse gives us the opportunity to grasp both ends of the ethnological process: a process of global liquidation; a process of generalized exploitation. It must be repeated: ethnology is colonialism and the absorption of the civilizing mission of the West, the mechanical adjustment of cultures, the mechanical readjustment of the processes of industrialization; in other terms, urbanization, education, brain washing, violence, and theft. There is no scientific discourse in ethnology. This much we know. Well done propaganda, ethnology is the day book of the white man on assignment in the field; the white man, mandated by the historical sovereignty of European thought and its singular vision of mankind." --Stanilas Spero Adotevi

"...although the universal juridicism of modern society seems to fix limits on the exercise of power, its universally widespread panopticism enables it to operate, on the underside of the law, a machinery that is both immense and minute, which supports, reinforces, multiplies the asymmetry of power and undermines the limits that are traced around the law. The minute disciplines, the panopticisms of everyday, may well be below the level of emergence of the great apparatuses and the great political struggles." --Michel Foucault

These quotations sketch the analytical contours of this course. This course investigates the history, sociology, theory, and technique of documentary film within specific political, social, cultural, technological, economic, artistic, and historical contexts of the 20th century. Just as the witness' evidence is bounded by the context of the crime and the trial, so too is film. It is not isolated within the four walls of movie theaters. Documentary film is even more dependent on the history and culture in which it operates because it seeks to refine, inform, reform, change, reinforce, or stabilize politics, cultures and our minds.

This course assumes several postures in its approach to documentary. The first is that the history of documentary film creates standards of technique that are perpetuated, embellished, and resisted through the decades. The second is that, along with Joris Ivens, this course also argues that there is no such thing as objectivity in regards to documentary film. Each film will be viewed as both a deliberate aesthetic construct (practice) and as a repository of cultural and historical values, beliefs, ideas, and events (discourse). And third, the course deals with American and European film exclusively. To adequately study the development of documentary cinema in Africa, Asia and South America is another course, which may emerge as a senior seminar in the future.

Because this course deals with the intersection of theory and history, it employs a wide range of films and books to ground students. Lectures and discussions will expand, develop, and criticize texts and films, but will not rehash the written texts. To this end, it is vital that students read the assigned texts prior to the lecture so that they will share a common basis with the instructor. The more students read, the more this class can run like a seminar, with less lecture.

Texts:

Erik Barnouw, Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film
Clifford & Marcus, Writing Culture
Karl Heider, The Ethnographic Film
Phyllis R. Klotman and Janet K. Cutler, Struggles for Representation: African American Documentary Film and Video
Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary
Paul Rabinow, Foucault Reader
Michael Selig & Patricia Zimmermann, International Cinema (special issue of UFVA Journal)
Patricia R. Zimmermann, Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film
Patricia R. Zimmermann, States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies
Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States

Suggested Books:

Foucault for Beginners
Erik Barnouw and Patricia R. Zimmermann, editors, The Flaherty:
Forty Years in the Cause of Independent Cinema
Deirde Boyle, Guerrilla Television
Christine Holmlund and Cynthia Fuchs, editors, Between the
Sheets, In the Streets
Todd Gitlin, The Whole World is Watching
Grant Kester, editor, Art, Activism and Oppositionality
Annett Michelson, ed: Kino-Eye The Writings of Dziga Vertov
Mark Poster, Foucault, Marxism and History
Barry Smart, Foucault

Grading:

Your grade for this course is based on five components.

  • Three one-screen email posts in response to Cinema on the Edge or Park School special events with visiting documentary makers, scholars, or festivals 15%
  • Two five-page critical analysis papers (20% and 25%)= 45%
  • 1 Mid-term Exam 20%
  • 1 Cumulative Final Exam 20%

TOTAL 100%

Students are required to participate in the intellectual and artistic public sphere of the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Three events beyond the ones scheduled for official class time, such as Cinema on the Edge events or other Departmental or School guests. Responses/analysis of programs should analyze the relationships between readings, theory and films in this courses with event, posted on e-mail in an organized, coherent argument in one screen within three days of the event.

Papers:

Paper topics are included in this syllabus so that students will be prepared for critical viewing. Please note that many films are not available for subsequent screenings, so it is important to keep good notes on the films for future reference in discussion and your own papers. Because these papers ask for argumentation and theoretical criticism, it will be difficult to write a good paper in less than 5 pages. If you have problems formulating an argument or position, please make an appointment with the instructor for assistance. A good strategy would be to write on films on tape or CD Roms in the library.

Film Study Guide to Prepare for Discussions:

  1. What formal devices does the film/program employ to position itself as non-fiction? This will include sound, composition, editing, pace, music, etc. Be sure to analyze the significance and impact of these choices: don't just enumerate these instances, explain how they position the viewer towards a certain reading.
  2. What does the content choice and selection and presentation of "factual" information reveal about the ideology of the film/program? What is included? What is excluded? What do these choices reveal about the political assumptions of the program?
  3. Describe the social and political context of the film/program. What other cultural factors contribute to its position? How does it frame current issues? What is its significance and impact at this particular historical moment? To adequately answer this question, you may need to do some research in popular magazines and newspapers to support your arguments.

Tips for Success in this Course

  1. Keep copious notes on the lectures. Material included in the lectures will not be covered in the readings, and may be useful for papers.
  2. Read carefully. Don't just read for content. Read for the author's argument, point of view, and use of examples. Barnouw is historical, so read him in terms of how he places the films within their own historical dimensions. Barsam is a collection of essays, some written by theorists, others by filmmakers. All the articles in this book deal with documentary theory. How does the author see documentary? What is the work of the filmmaker? How are films financed? What are their purposes? Faucault and Clifford are theoretical: read for argument!
  3. Take notes on the films. The paper topics will combine your readings and lectures with a close analysis of the films. You need to note important details such as how the film is constructed, what comes where, the stylistic devices, what the film is about, and how the film is put together. You will need to draw upon your notes for evidence to support your arguments in the papers.
  4. Write your papers carefully. Be sure that you have evidence to support your ideas. Check your grammar, punctuation and spelling. It is not important to write voluminously; a short, concise, well-argued paper often drives a point home more forcefully than a rambling long paper. Study the attached paper sample for clues.
  5. Ask questions. No question is too dumb. To remain silent is to inhibit intellectual exchanges with others.

Requirements for all Non-Fiction Theory Papers:

  • 1. 3 theoretical footnotes to demonstrate command of theory
  • 2. secondary sources (writing about the film but not from the period)
  • 3. an argument that develops out of concrete evidence from the films
  • 4. Clear, detailed analysis that explicates the argument
  • 5. Mechanical Requirements:
    • A. avoid passive voice
    • B. avoid is verbs
    • C. avoid run-on sentences
    • D. write with details and specifics not generalities
    • E. avoid unsupported assertions
    • F. footnote all ideas and evidence from sources other than
    • your own
    • G. correct grammar and spelling throughout
    • H. correct word usage
  • 6. Proofread before turning in

Caution:

No late papers accepted. Papers must be turned in at the beginning of the due date class. Anything submitted later is late and earns an F. NO EXCEPTIONS!

PAPER #1, DUE FEBRUARY 26

Choose one question outlined below. Write a concise, precise, 5 page paper. All papers must be typewritten, or they will not be accepted. No late papers will be read. It's not the length, but the insights that interest me. Good grammar, syntax and punctuation will be rewarded as well.

Be sure to organize your paper and use concrete evidence from your book, lectures and films to support your arguments. It is not enough to say something like "Flaherty was a romantic. His films show it." Rather, you should say "Flaherty's films, through their use of close-ups and narrative editing, exhibit subjectivity and artistry. For example, in Nanook, Flaherty's camera follows Nanook as he builds his house through a series of medium shots and close-ups which make us more sympathetic to his plight." Back up arguments with concrete evidence from films and precise analysis of the implications for theorization.

1. The history of industrialization, technological change, and capitalist economic relations provides an illuminating discursive context for early documentary film. Select two different films, but be sure to justify and explain your choices. Explain how Foucauldian history can illuminate the multiple discourses surrounding these films by explaining the significance of his essays on history and authorship for documentary film studied. By conducting additional historical research following Foucault into the period's "genealogy," establish the various threads of their discursive context. Then compare and contrast how these films work to either subvert or maintain that discursive context. How do they organize the various discourses and practices on industrialization and technological change from their respective time periods? Do these films support or critique industrialization? You must refer to other readings assigned for this course, as well as original research.

2. Many discussions of documentary are mired in misconstructed assumptions about "objectivity" as something knowable and unassailable, without analyzing its more scientifically based assumptions. Compare and contrast Heider's traditional, social science view of ethnographic film with the more postmodern version of ethnographic critique offered in the book Writing Culture. What are the philosophical assumptions of each position? What do they have in common? How do they differ? Which one provides the better model to analyse the "ethnographic relationship?" Then discuss two films that each illustrate these different approaches. Analyze how these films can simultaneously conform to and contradict these tenets.

3. Dziga Vertov critiques the question of "documentary objectivity" with a contention that all documentary is informed by ideology, a specific political purpose, and a relationship with spectators. However, many critics group Man with a Movie Camera, Berlin, Rain, and A Propos De Nice together as examples of avant-garde cinema and city films. A more fruitful area of analysis may be in how these films--through camera work, relationship to subject, structure, form, regulation of bodies, demarcation of space, and spectatorial relations--connect knowledge to power relations.

Drawing on Foucault's essays on regulation of bodies, control of space, panopticism, marginality, and regulation, define and analyze how three of these categories can illuminate the complex power relations of the city documentary. Select two films with distinctly different approaches to the city, and analyze their differences with respect to at least three categories outlined by Foucault.

5 pages maximum

PAPER #2

Choice A
Due April 15th

Choose one of the following paper topics and write a concise, precise, insightful 5 page paper. As usual, no late papers will be accepted. Papers must be typed, double-spaced and well-written. Please, if you need help, visit the Writing Lab or me. Insight, clarity and style will be rewarded. Make certain all of your papers present an ARGUMENT that is developed coherently, logically, analytically and with adequate support.

1. Propaganda film has always generated interest among documentary scholars because it foregrounds the relationship between sponsor, media and the spectator. However, propaganda is bound by its own historical and institutional context. Pick two different groups of films (for example, Nazi films or Regional Cinema) and analyze the institutional context of their production and how it worked within/around the historical context and cultural discourses of the time period. Then, zero in on two specific films from each category and analyze how the film's construction and formal design conforms to or subverts the agenda of the sponsor. You must draw on materials assigned for class as well as additional historical research.

2. In any analysis of documentary film, a discussion of politics is unavoidable. Compare and contrast Polan's theory of the spectacle to Foucault's position on politics as outlined in "Politics and Ethics," and "Polemics, Politics, and Problematizations." How does each define politics within culture? What are their differences? What are their implications for documentary film theory? Then, select two films and analyze how they illuminate each of these theoretical positions on politics and power. You will need to link your work to appropriate documentary writing such as Barnouw, Winston, Zimmermann, or Nichols. Be sure to analyze the textual form and spectatorial relationships of each piece.

3. In this course, we have deployed a variety of documentary, social, and political theories to understand how various documentary films construct either overt or covert political positions. Unlike narrative films which depend on spectator identification and psychoanalytic pleasure for suturing, documentary depends on argumentation and analytical pleasures.

Select three films that offer three different political arguments. First, justify your choices by first defining the different political ideologies expressed and their significance for your argument by linking them to theoretical work we have studied. Then analyze the differences in the construction of the various films in terms of narration, compositional style and relationship to bodies and geography, music. How do these formal strategies contribute to the organization of the film's argument? What kind of evidence and explanation is proffered? You must use Barnouw, Winston, Zimmermann, Heider, Clifford and Marcus, Foucault or Nichols, to support your contentions.

You may use the following films for any of these questions:

Land Without Bread 20's Newsreels
Night Mail Careers for Girls
Housing Problems Movies March On
Song of Ceylon Coal Mining Women
Industrial Britain Taylor Chain
Film & Photo League Black Delta Religion
Handsworth Songs Work
The Good Fight Night and Fog
March of Time Triumph of the Will
Plow that Broke the Plains Ties That Bind
The River Ethnic Notions
The Spanish Earth Feathered Warrior
Hands

5 pages maximum

PAPER #2

Choice B

This paper allows you to choose a topic of your choice to explore, mine, and probe. As usual, papers will be graded on their argumentative rigor, exposition, and clarity of ideas. You should confine yourself to topics that we have investigated in the last weeks of class, so that you are dealing with more current theoretical and historical issues. You may do a paper on a specific historical period, aesthetic style, or social context. Papers on documentary theory or specific political problematics issues should be supported with evidence from specific films. Listed below are some suggested topics. However, you are not limited to these topics.

Digital Imaging Technologies and Documentary
CD-ROM, Digital Technologies and Foucault
Representation and the War in Bosnia (or Rwanda, Myanmar, Chechnya, Afghanistan)
War and Censorship
U.S. Government News Management of the New War
Problems of Historical Discourse in Documentary
War Films: World War II , Vietnam, the Gulf War, and Afghanistan
Distribution and Exhibition Economics of Documentary: HBO, ITVS, PBS
Cinema Verite as Ethnographic Film
Gender and Sexuality in Documentary
Net.Art and Documentary Production
Public Television and Documentary Filmmaking
The Political Economy of Documentary
The relationship between form and argumentation in documentary
Ethics and Documentary
Web-based documentary forms
Films as Social Protest in the Vietnam Era: Use vs. Art
Cinema Verite as Narrative Texts on Reality
The Role of Controversy
The Economics of Television Documentaries
The Discourse on Sexuality in Documentary
Marginal Cinemas
The Anti-Globalization Movement and Media
History and the Construction of Documentary
Nature Films as Spectacle
The Docile Body in Documentary
Television and Documentary in 50's America
Abortion and Documentary Representation
Cable Access As Democratic Television
Democracy and Documentary in Eastern Europe
U.S. African American Documentary

Of course, papers should not be limited to these topics. If you have an area of burning interest, please talk to me to carve out a more customized topic.

In summary, these papers should employ the theories you have learned this semester, and should present some new insights. Papers with historical footnotes will be rewarded: you will need to do research to do this paper. Look in periodicals of the time, reviews, and other film histories for leads. Make certain you argue from a position you can support with evidence and explain with vigorous analysis. Good luck.

5 pages maximum

Course Outline

January 21

Topic: Deconstructing Documentary: Discourse, Practice, Marginality

Screening: LA Christmas, 911, Wittengentstein's Tractatus (Patty Collection), Rock, Paper, Missile, Six O'Clock News

January 22

Topic: Industrial Capitalism and New Technologies

Screening: Lumiere Reel

Readings: Rabinow: "Nietzche, Geneaology, and History," pp. 76-100; "Truth and Power," pp. 51-75; "What is an Author," pp. 101-120; "Docile Bodies," pp. 179-187; States of Emergency, Chapter 1; Struggles, pp. 1-34

January 24

Topic: Apparatus and Industry in the Late 19th Century

Screening: Glass Jaw

Readings: Zinn, pp. 290-313; Reel Families, pp. 1-55; Barnouw, pp. 1-30; Winston, pp. 127-142; Nichols, pp. 1-19, 82-98

January 28

Topic: Ethnographic Film

Screening: Dreamkeeper (three channel installation by Philip Mallory Jones), Nanook of the North, Letter from Siberia

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 31-51; Heider, entire book; Clifford, pp. 227-98; Rabinow, "Means of Correct Training," pp. 188-205; "Panopticism", pp. 206-213; "Space, Power, Knowledge," pp. 239-256; Ruby, in International Cinema; Winston, pp. 1-10, 19-23, 99-103, 170-204; Nichols, 20-41; Struggles, pp. 298-314; Struggles, 269-298

January 29

Topic: Robert Flaherty: The Patriarch of Documentary, or Film as Imperialist Exploration?, On Cannibalism

January 31

Topic: Form and Function of Ethnographic Film

Screening: Tongues Untied

February 4

Soviet Cinema: Vertov and Kino-Piloting

Screening: Man with the Movie Camera (please send LD version with the soundtrack), Sonic Outlaws

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 51-71; Rabinow, "Complete and Austere Institutions," pp. 214-225; "Illegalities and Delinquency," pp. 226-233; Clifford, pp. 122-140; Winston, pp. 164-169; Zinn, pp. 314-349; Gurevitch, Muratov, and Zimmermann, in International Cinema; States of Emergency, Chapter 5; Nichols, pp. 42-60

February 5

Topic: The Historical Perimeters of Film Practice

February 7

Topic: Film Reception and Politics: Textual and Ideological Discussion

February 11

Topic: City Films

Screening: A Propos de Nice, Rain, Berlin: Symphony of a City, The Nation Erupts

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 51-81; Zinn, pp. 350-367; Reel Families, pp. 56-89; Nichols, pp. 61-81

February 12

Topic: The 1920s: Art Movements versus Consumerism and Commercial Cinema

February 14

Topic: City Films as Technical Experimentation and Artifice: Discussion

February 18

Topic: Subjectivity/Objectivity: The Nation State and John Grierson's Documentary England

Screening: Industrial Britain, Housing Problems, Night Mail, Take Over

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 85-100; Nichols, pp. 168-178; Winston, pp. 11-18, 24-68, 120-123; Rabinow, "The Body of the Condemned," pp. 170-179; States of Emergency, Chapter 2; Struggles, pp. 122-150, 211-249; 315-328

February 19

Topic: Nation State, Citizens, and Victims

February 21

Topic: The Discursive Construction of the Nation in State Financed Film: Discussion

Screening: Mickey Mouse in Haiti

February 25

Topic: American Cinema of Social Commitment: The Depression

Screening: The Plow that Broke the Plains, The Spanish Earth, The Good Fight

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 11-139; Winston, pp. 69-73, 79-96; Zinn, pp. 368-397

February 26 PAPER #1 DUE

Topic: The Documentary Explosion in the Arts and the Question of Power

Screening: Film and Photo League Program I, Ephemeral Films: 1931-145 to New Horizons

February 28

Topic: The Voice of Authority: The Position of Narration

Screening: March of Time: The Great Depression

March 4

Topic: Representing Nazis

Screening: Triumph of the Will, Night and Fog, Ties that Bind, Human Remains

Polan, "Above all else to make you see: Cinema and the Spectacle," handout; Barnouw, pp. 100-110; Winston, pp. 74-78, 113-119; MacDonald in International Cinema; Nichols, pp. 99-138

March 5

Topic: The Question of "Art" and the Obfuscation of Political Ideology

Screening: Olympia Diving Sequence

March 6

MID TERM EXAMINATION

SPRING BREAK

March 18

Topic: Imaging World War II

Screening: Listen to Britain, Prelude to War, Japanese Relocation, History and Memory, Hiroshima/Nagasaki 1945

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 139-182; Winston, pp. 104-112; Reel Families, pp. 90-111; Zinn, pp. 398-434; States of Emergency, Chapter 3; Struggles, pp. 34-70

March 19

Topic: The Collusion of Propaganda and Social Science Theory

Screening: Battle of Midway, Bugs and Daffy: Wartime Cartoons

March 21

Topic: Difference and Intervention in War Imaginings: Discussion

March 25

Topic: The Fabulous Fifties: Network Television and Cinema Verite

Screening: Report on Senator McCarthy, Primary, Point of Order

Readings: Struggles, pp. 99-121; Reel Families, pp. 112-142; Barnouw, pp. 198-240; Zimmermann, "Independent Documentary Producers and the American TV Networks," handout; Winston, pp. 143-158; Nichols, pp. 139-167

March 26

Topic: Historical Recoveries of the Marginal

Screening: Eyes on the Prize: Ain't Scared of Your Jails

March 28

Topic: Resistance to Corporate Standardization: Cinema Verite versus the Cinema of Outtakes

April 1

Topic: Cinema Verite and the Construction of the Self: Independent Documentary and Youth Culture

Screening: Les Racquetteurs, High School, AKA Don Bonus, Jon Alpert on Marcos

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 240-262; Zinn, pp. 493-528; Zimmermann, "Public Television, Independent Documentary Producers, and Public Policy," handout; Winston, pp. 159-163, 205-241

April 2

Topic: Cinema Verite's Congruences with Ethnography

Screening: Trip Through Brooks Home

April 4

Topic: The Benevolent Panoptican: Discussion

April 8

Search for a Common Ground Film Festival

Readings: States of Emergency, Chapter 4; Hess and Zimmermann, Transnational Documentary: A Manifesto (handout)

April 9

Search for a Common Ground Film Festival

April 11

Search for a Common Ground Film Festival

April 15 Paper #2 Due

Topic: Vietnam: War, the "Third World", and Cinematic Intervention

Screening: The Selling of the Pentagon, US Technique and Genocide in North Vietnam, Red Squad, Amerika

Readings: Barnouw, pp. 262-288; Zinn, pp. 460-492; Winston, pp. 242-247; States of Emergency, Chapter 3; Struggles, pp. 71-98

April 16

Topic: Press Blackouts: US and Them

Screening: Interview with My Lai Veterans

April 18

Topic: Multiple Articulations of the "truth" of Vietnam and Memory

Screening: Smothering Dreams

April 22

Topic: Documentaries for the 21st Century

Screening: Gate of Heavenly Peace

Readings: Zinn, 529-584; Winston, pp. 251-261; Rabinow, pp. 258-272

April 23

Topic: Documentaries for the 21st Century

Screening: Nobody's Business

Readings: Reel Famlies, pp. 143-158

April 24

Topic: Documentaries for the 21st Century

Screening: Calling the Ghosts

Readings: States of Emergency, Chapter 3; Boyle, International Cinema

April 29

Topic: Documentary as Theoretical Inscriptions

Screening: Who Killed Vincent Chin?, Cannibal Tours

Readings: States of Emergency, Chapter 4

April 30

Topic: Documentary as Theoretical Inscriptions

Screening: Free Fall (distributor: EAI or MOMA)

May 2

Topic: Documentary as Theoretical Inscriptions

Screening: Obsessive Becoming

Readings: States of Emergency, Chapter 3

NON-FICTION FILM FINAL EXAM STUDY GUIDE, Spring 2001

The final exam will be held in our regular classroom. The exam will consist of four essay questions. These questions will ask you to discuss four films you have seen in the last two weeks of class. I will select the films. You will be required to answer all four questions.

A good answer will deploy both the theory and history of documentary film to probe the question. You should write a coherent, well structured argument. I will look for an understanding of documentary theory and history, as well as an ability to apply both to contemporary work. Probing analysis, good use of concrete evidence, and an ability to understand the significance of a particular film's interventions are crucial. You must use theory and history or you will only receive 50% credit.

A sample question would look like this:

Discuss how The War Game employs or subverts:

a. conventions of the interview
b. conventions of cinema verite

You will need to answer both parts of the question. Of course, you could argue that the film both employs and subverts, or you could argue it does only one. The point is to make an argument. You should be sure to deploy ample evidence from the film; generalizations will not do you any good, neither will cliches or truisms. You should always place these films in their documentary context by genre or by technique. You should be able to argue why they are significant interventions in documentary, and what tradition they are related to.

One way to study for this cumulative final is to review all of the films we have seen and analyzed in addition to the theory.

The following is a list of terms that I will draw on to formulate questions. They are designed to help you review some of the key concepts of this course.

active spectatorship
agitational film
agitational filmmaking
argument
atonal music to heighten viewer awareness
attitude towards subject
avant garde technique
carnival
city films
class issues
collective identity
combination of documentary and fictional techniques
compilation documentary
compilation film
composition
construction of objectivity
construction of the exotic as chaos controlled through filming
critique of dominant ideology
critique of government through opening up of the public sphere
cultural differences
deconstruction
deconstruction as a political strategy
deconstruction of structured absences in the text
deployment of evidence in documentary
deployment of information to mobilize public sphere
deployment of narrative construction (build-up, rising action,
climax)
development of alternative media
direct address interview
discourse
distance from subject
distribution
docile bodies
editing: style, structure, continuity, disruptive, montage
empiricism
ethnography
exhibition
experimental technique
explicit point of view
feminist documentary
fictional devices
formal devices
framing of shot
gaze of panoptican
gender stereotypes
genealogical history
generalizations versus specificity
governmental interference
governmental policies
historical argument
history from private sphere
ideology
individual characters
industrialization, technology, social relations, history
linear history
low-tech production style
micro-practices
mobility of the camera versus the immobilization of subjects
moving camera
multiple discourses
music
narrative conventions
network TV codes
new technology
panoptican
political filmmaking
political usage
position of speaker
position of the spectator
power relations
presentation of enemy
propaganda film
proximity
public sphere
racial stereotypes
reconstruction of the public sphere
recontextualization
regimentation
regulation of bodies
regulation of information
representation of chaos
representation of marginality
representation of "the other"
resistance to dominant ideology
resistance to domination
retelling history from margin
self-reflexivity
science as ideology
sexual politics
social context
social movements
sound effects
spatial relations
spectacle
structure of film
subjectivity
subversion of codes
surveillance
testimony from participants
travel ideology
use of color versus use of black and white
use of formal abstraction
use of humor
use of traditional music for editorializing
victim in documentary
voice of authority
voice over narration
war documentary
war iconography
who speaks