Analysis Of Two Documentaries
I will be analysing two very different types of documentary, 'Dogtown
and the Z-Boys', which takes the role of being a full length movie
type documentary, and 'Teenage Transsexuals' which was recently shown
on Channel 4.
'Dogtown and the Z-Boys' is a documentary which takes a look at the
transformation of surfing into skateboarding. The film follows the
evolution of skating through it's heyday in the 70's, to it's decline
in the 80's, and then back upto it's popular return in the 90's. It
also follows the Zephyr team, a high profile surf/skate club which
revolutionised the skating industry right upto the present day. The
film is written and produced by Stacy Peralta and Craig Stecyk, who
were two of the original co-founding members of the Zephyr Skate Team.
Stacy Peralta also directed the film.
Peralta does not openly avoid issues such as race, gender or class. He
simply tells the story as it is..
Peralta uses a mix of intelligent editing, camera technique and format
to give the film a certain tone. The scenes are edited to be very
quick and snappy. This makes the film run less smoothly and gives it a
messy, sloppy feel which reflects the lifestyle of the Z-Boys. It also
makes the film exciting and intriguing as you don't know where it's
headed next. The rock and roll type music which includes 'T-Rex' 'Thin
Lizzy' and 'Jimi Hendrix', was dominating FM rock radio at the time
and defining the fearless, irreverent spirit of their sport. This type
of music also runs hand in hand with the editing technique that
Peralta chose to use. The film has been and definitely needs to be
edited in chronological order to make sense. The film is 'fully
narrated' by Sean Penn in that the narrative is there to simply
explain what is happening on screen and to tell the story. The
narrator uses mostly factual information and few opinions which makes
the film feel fairly personal. The narrator hypes up what otherwise be
quite a dull and unexciting film by using exaggeration and sarcastic
humour in some places.
The documentary is informative, as the reader would otherwise probably
not be aware of 'Dogtown and the Z-Boys'. But it informs in an
entertaining fashion with a popular, interesting soundtrack and an
original editing/camera technique.
Dogtown and Z-Boys uses all of John Corner's central elements of
documentary and most of documentaries typical codes and conventions.
The film contains lots of areas of observation, mostly showing the
boy's when they are young and just starting out. This is unseen
observation because the camera is ignored by the people taking part in
the event which is being shown. This method places the viewer in the
role of being an eye-witness. A narrative is used over this type of
observation throughout the film to explain and...