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Documentary Imagination

Take-home test Documentary Imagination (2019-2020), Forceville

General instructions
Write an essay (max. 2500 words) on one of the topics listed below. Details about what factors will be taken into account for your mark can be found in the Course Guide. Use the pertinent literature we have hitherto read; finding other pertinent literature is a bonus. The take home essay is worth 30% of the final mark. The deadline for uploading the essay on Canvas is Friday 27 March, 23.59 hrs; the deadline for the retake is the same as the first submission for the final essay (see the Course Guide for details).

Subject options for the take home essay
(1)    Choose two or three of Dziga Vertovs Kino Pravda films (all accessible via YouTube) and discuss them in comparison with Man With the Movie Camera. In what sense do the Kino Pravda films anticipate thematic and/or stylistic elements of MMC? How do both the former and the latter reflect the Kino-Eye ideology?

(2)    Find a documentary not discussed in the texts, homeviewings, or in class that contains a substantial amount of found footage. Discuss the documentary in terms of concepts, insights, and/or angles provided in the literature we read and in other pertinent papers/chapters. What can you say about the difference in the effect of the original footage and its recontextualized use? How, if at all, have the original sources been changed by visual, musical, sonic, or verbal additions or changes?

(3)    Find a short animentary (or a long fragment from a feature-length one) that has not yet been discussed in the texts, homeviewings, or in class, and analyze it using concepts discussed. How is the indexical relation with a profilmic reality ensured, if at all? Are music, sound, and language used primarily to ensure indexicality or are they used creatively. How do ethos and logos play a role in the documentarys audiovisual rhetoric? How does any of this affect your evaluation of the documentary status of the film?

(4)    Find a short documentary (or a long fragment from a feature-length one) that is for one reason or another controversial and that has not yet been discussed in the texts, the homeviewings, or in class. Analyze it from an ethical/moral perspective. Apply concepts proposed by the authors we discussed, complemented by other scholarly sources, and evaluate their usefulness for your documentary. Take into account the sometimes conflicting responsibilities makers have toward participants, viewers, sponsors, and themselves.


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