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Assumptions About Documentaries And An Analysis Of The Catfish

2010 words - 9 pages

Assumption about documentaries being true, educational only, no imagination needed aren’t correct . There are several documentaries we watched in class that show that documentaries don’t all fall under the same assumptions. A common assumption about documentaries is that there is no imagination needed. “ In a time when the major media recycle the same stories on the same subjects over and over, when they risk little in formal innovation, when they remain beholden to powerful sponsors with their own political agendas and restrictive demands, it is the independent documentary film that has brought a fresh eye to the events of the world and told stories, with verve and imagination, that ...view middle of the document...

” Instead, they “play” or present themselves. They draw on prior experience and habits to be themselves in the face of a camera.” (Nichols,8) Almost every documentary we watched that include people could fit this because the people in it those films are all giving a performance. Even though they are real people we weren’t really seeing who they are.
A documentary film is not made up; it shows what really happens in real life; shows things as they are naturally are. This statement is not completely true. “The story a documentary tells stems from the historical world but it is still told from the filmmaker’s perspective and in the filmmaker’s voice. This is a matter of degree, not a black-and-white division.” (Nichols, 12) “In these cases the stories told speak about the actual events directly, not allegorically, and the film adheres to the known historical facts. Social actors, people, present themselves in fluid, negotiated, revealing ways.” (Nichols,12) According to Nichols documentaries are true events but the filmmaker shapes what we see into what they want us to see. We are getting the perspective of the directors. An example of movie watched in class was Nanook of the North, even though the people were real, some of the scenes seemed staged. The director wants us to see Nanook and his people behind on technology and still living in the past. There is the scene were one of them is biting a disc, it seems the director is trying to make us believe these people are way behind and primitive. Another scene that helps prove that not everything caught on camera happens naturally is when Nanook sees all the other eskimos going into the water to fish. The director uses several different camera angles to capture a “natural” event.
Another convention about documentaries is that documentaries are used to inform and educate. Even though they are not all are meant to do that. In class we watched documentaries that were meant to inform us such as Listen to Britain. Documentaries aren’t only about providing information and educating it also wants to arise a social consciousness. “Documentary not only activates our aesthetic awareness (unlike a strictly informational or training film), it also activates our social consciousness.” (Nichols,104) Not all documentaries are educational some want to build consciousness. Sicko comes to mind because it isn’t only strictly informational but it wanted the audience to become aware of this problem. The documentary wanted to arouse our interest and make us go out to fix the problem. A scene that would capture our attention about the issue is when the elder couple is forced to move in with their daughter because of the health care issue. Bully is a film that informs us about a problem but do more than just inform us they are trying make the audience aware of the problems that different societies and communities face on a day-to-day basis. These films aren’t only educational but they also evoke human emotion to make us...

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