In The Documentary When We Were Kings, How Does The Filmaker Position The Veiwer Feel About The Documentary?

867 words - 3 pages

When We Where KingsDocumentary studies by TristanThe documentary, When We Were Kings, is the story of Muhammad Ali's return to Africa to regain his title as heavyweight boxing champion of the world from George Forman. As the filmmaker follows the fight to Africa, we see the build up to the championship fight as well as a connotative story developing regarding the nation of Africa. With the use of actuality footage, archival footage and constructed interviews, the director, Leon Gast, has structured this film to build up to the championship fight, 'Rumble in the jungle'. He has used a cinema verite style of documentary to capture the reality and impact of Muhammad Ali.The documentary opens with footage of ABC sportswriter Howard Cosell saying: "The time may have come to say goodbye to Muhammad Ali because, quite honestly, I don't think he has a chance." This is followed by Ali's rebuttal: "Howard Cosell, you told everybody I don't have a chance, you told everybody I don't have a prayer. Well chump, all I need is a prayer coz if that prayer gets to the right man, not only will George Foreman fall, but mountains will fall!" The debate continues with a slowly developing montage of rebuttals and self grandiosing. This introduces the theme of Ali's ambition to beat the world champion. In using a professional sports writer's doubt in Ali, the filmmaker creates a doubt in the viewer's mind of Ali's ability to succeed, developing controversy and stimulating further viewing of the documentary.Regularly, throughout the documentary, the filmmaker uses interviews of important people, including festival coordinators and Ali's coaching staff. By using these breaks of actual footage, the comments from sports people, such as sportswriter Norman Mailer and Ali's biographer Thomas Hauser, contrast the portrayal of Ali's huge ego. This gives the effect of narrating the story as the documentary builds up. The associate's personal opinion encourages the viewer to adopt the interviewee's viewpoint, and hence the filmmaker's viewpoint without the intervention of a narrator. These consistent 'close encounters' make the documentary far more plausible to the viewer, and show insight into the reality of the festival, often showing complications in management whilst still portraying Ali as an incredible man.Throughout the documentary, Leon Gast uses various camera angles to capture the actuality footage taken in 1974 of Ali at his prime. Regularly Gast uses low camera angles to emphasise Ali as the controller of the scene. Close up shots of Ali pointing down the camera are used to show his expression and emotion clearly to the...

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