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  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 2000-word essay (40%) and 3000-word essay (60%)

Module description

In this module we provide an in-depth history of the development of the documentary film and raise issues as to what constitutes a documentary. You will have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the non-fiction practices that form such an important part of cinema, television and internet production and consumption.

We focus on the emergence and impact of documentary in Britain and France, as well as covering a range of examples of international documentary films made within different cultural contexts and from different countries. International examples will also include ethnographic film and indigenous practices.

You will engage with contemporary theories of documentary and non-fiction film, as well as viewing and engaging with a lot of film, video and online material that you have not seen before. Teaching and learning involves a variety of methods including presentations, pair/group work, class discussions, screenings, independent study outside of class, and individual tutorials.

Indicative syllabus

  • Tracing documentary's history and emergence from the early and silent period of film to the present day
  • Learning about documentary film-makers and their motivations
  • Understanding the context of documentary films within different approaches and movements in documentary film-making
  • Considering theories of documentary film practice
  • Viewing and analysing the aesthetic practices and styles of documentary
  • Debating the ethics of different types of documentary practice
  • Researching the kinds of audiences addressed
  • Examining the spaces of documentary film exhibition