Documentary Screens: Non-Fiction Film and Television by Keith Beattie

By Keith Beattie

Documentary productions surround striking representations of unusual realities. How do documentaries in attaining their ends? What forms of documentaries are there? What components are implicated of their creation? Such questions animate this attractive research. Documentary monitors offers a accomplished and significant advent to the formal good points and histories of important different types of documentary movie and tv. one of the different types tested are autobiographical, indigenous and ethnographic documentary, compilation movies, direct cinema and cinema verite and tv documentary journalism. The publication additionally considers fresh so-called renowned actual leisure and the way forward for documentary movie, tv and new media. This provocative and available research situates wide-ranging examples from every one type in the greater fabric forces which impression on documentary shape and content material. the real connection among shape, content material, and context explored within the ebook constitutes a brand new and vigorous ''documentary studies'' method of documentary illustration.

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In another way, reconstruction is innovatively melded to the conventions of tabloid news formats and film noir in The Thin Blue Line’s incisive and subtle investigation of a murder case which mixes reconstructions with features of the interactive and reflexive modes. Reconstruction of a different kind has proliferated through an increasing reliance on the manipulations made possible by digital media. The intersection of digital media representation and natural science topics has produced programmes such as Walking with Dinosaurs (BBC/Discovery, 1999), The Ballad of Big Al (BBC, 2000) and Walking with Beasts (BBC, 2001) which use putatively realistic dramatizations to re-create the look and behaviours of extinct animals.

Such documentary reports were extensions of what Grierson understood to be a basic principle of documentary, namely, the education of citizens in matters concerning the social interconnections and operative forces of industrial society. In ‘First Principles of Documentary’ Grierson introduces a form that he considers adequate to this educative task through a discussion of Walther Ruttmann’s Berlin, Symphony of the City (1927). Ruttmann’s film was one of a number of so-called city symphonies produced in the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, among them Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera (1929).

Indeed, given the significance of sponsorship to the development of documentary, the practice can, after Grierson, be termed the second principle of documentary. Without corporate sponsorship Flaherty would not have been able to produce a film dealing with the Inuit. As he admitted in 1950, no one would finance a film dealing with the Eskimo until Revillon Frères, a French fur company, stepped in and met production costs (Flaherty, [1950] 1996: 38). Nanook of the North is not an advertisement for Revillon Frères in a direct sense.

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