Documentary Cinema


Involves a critical and historical survey of documentary as a reportorial, experiential, persuasive, and aesthetically diverse form of film.



  • Semester 2 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. An understanding of the history and different forms of documentary film.

2. Knowledge of the major theoretical positions and aesthetic debates in the area

3. The ability to relate questions of ethics and interpretation to the functioning of the media in the contemporary world.


This course involves an examination of the various styles, aims, and methods of the documentary approach to filmmaking. In doing so it explores such topics as:

  1. the relationship between documentary film, memory, history, politics and social reality;
  2. usage and function of experts, witnesses, archive footage and narrators;
  3. the responsibility of the filmmaker to his/her filmed subjects as existing within a specific social context, and, the relationship between 'the public's right to know' and the individual on-screen subject's right to privacy; and
  4. ways by which new forms and technologies erode traditional boundaries between documentary, narrative, and experimental film, in the process undermining documentary's traditional claims to truth-telling.

Assumed Knowledge

20 units 1000 level film courses.

Assessment Items

Journal: Weekly Journal

Written Assignment: Film Analysis

Essay: Major Research Essay

Contact Hours


Film Screening

Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

A seminar combines lecture material and group discussion.