MCH1038 : Introduction to the Documentary: From documentation to non-fiction film
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Dr Raisa Sidenova
- Lecturer: Dr Alastair Cole, Dr Geetha Jayaraman, Mr Simon Rushton, Dr Ian McDonald
- Owning School: Arts & Cultures
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 2 Credit Value:||20|
This module will introduce students to the genre of non-fiction film known as the documentary. This screening based module will examine the development of the documentary from the origins of the form through to contemporary documentary practice, with a focus on observational documentary filmmaking. The historical and theoretical engagement with the documentary will be developed from the perspective of film practice – thus attention will be paid to the ethical relationship between filmmaker and subject, and between subject matter and politics, as well as story construction, and cinematographic and editing approaches.
This modules aims to:
1. Trace the origins of documentary as a form of non-fiction film.
2. Assess the contribution of early documentary makers from USSR, UK and Europe in the inter-war period.
3. Assess the contribution of documentary cinema in the post-war period, including Direct Cinema and Cinema Verite.
4. Reflect on the ethical dimension of documentary filmmaking, on notions of truth and representation.
5. Examine the relationship of documentaries to the ‘discourse of sobriety’ and as constitutive of wider relations of power.
Outline Of Syllabus
Weekly themes covered may include:
- From document to documentary – overview of definitional debates
- Actualities and narrative – the arrival of the documentary form
- Grierson and the British Documentary Movement
- Alternative traditions – Vertov and documentary in the USSR
- The arrival of the cinematic documentary – the non-fiction feature film
- Direct Cinema and Cinema Verite – critique, storytelling, truth.
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||60:00||60:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||12||1:00||12:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||1||38:00||38:00||Further project work and readings|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Small group teaching||12||3:00||36:00||Screenings and reading based discussions|
|Guided Independent Study||Project work||54||1:00||54:00||N/A|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
This module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and screening based seminars that set out historical context for the emergence of the documentary, and its subsequent development in different parts of the world. The combination of illustrated lectures to give a structure and context for learning, and screening and reading-based discussion in seminars will enable students to have both the breadth and depth of understanding of the documentary in its social and historical context
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Oral Presentation||25||2||A||30||In groups of 5, students present a history of the documentary from actualities to observational cinema.|
|Essay||2||A||70||Students submit an individual essay of 2000 words on the segment that they presented.|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
The rationale for the assessments is to enable the students to demonstrate their intellectual grasp of the development of the documentary form and to illustrate this through a group presentation and the writing of a scholarly 2000 word essay. The group presentation will also assess their ability to work as part of a team, which will stand them in good stead for productions tasks at levels 5 and 6.