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       References are to the required text: Documentary, a History of the Non-Fiction Film by Erik Barnouw (Oxford University Press, 2nd revised edition, 1993). Titles in italics indicate videos to be viewed in class.
Week  Discussion  Assigned Work 
Art and Facts: representational form and literal copy
  • Nova: Miracle of Life  
  • The Führer Gives A City To The Jews 
The documentary idea (Barnouw 297-349)
Documentary origins

(Barnouw 1-30)

  • Karl Bodmer in The West of the Imagination
  • Lewis Hine in America and Lewis Hine
Documentary art in the silent film era

(Barnouw 31-81)

  • Herbert Ponting: Ninety Degrees South (The Great White Silence)
  • Edward Curtis: In the Land of the Head Hunters
  • Robert Flaherty: Nanook of the North
The advent of sound and documentaries of the thirties - 1

(Barnouw 85-182)

  • John Grierson: Drifters; Night Mail
  • Pare Lorentz: The Plow That Broke the Plains
  • Louis de Rochemont: March of Time
  • John Huston: San Pietro
  • Leni Riefenstahl: Olympia
The advent of sound and documentaries of the thirties - 2
Television and a new documentary consciousness

(Barnouw 185-228)

How to make a documentary - 1 Proposals, approaches, research
  • Defending Our Lives
  • The Framingham Eight
  • Streetwise
  • Seventeen
How to make a documentary - 2 Treatments, use of talent, dynamic ideas
  • Ed Murrow: Harvest of Shame
  • Bill Moyers: The Vanishing Family
  • Michael Wood: In Search of the Trojan War
  • Terry Jones: Crusades: Pilgrims in Arms
  • Errol Morris: The Thin Blue Line
10  How to make a documentary - 3 Aesthetic choices, re-enactments
  • City of Gold
  • Gold Fever
  • Finest Hour
  • Time-Life: Lost Civilizations
11  The documentary as eye-witness and participant Cinéma-vérité and media event

(Barnouw 231-262)

  • Kennedy v Wallace: A Crisis Up Close
  • Unzipped

view out of class :

  • Davis: Family Business, Seventeen
  • Drew: Primary
  • Madonna: Truth or Dare
  • Maysles: Salesman, Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens
  • Pennebaker: Don't Look Back, Moon Over Broadway
  • Wiseman: High School
12  Ethical dilemmas and the interests of the story

(Barnouw 262-293)

  • Prime Time Live
  • 60 Minutes
13  Content and form in three documentary makers: Marcel Ophüls, Jon Alpert, Nick Broomfield
  • Hotel Terminus
  • One Year in a Life of Crime I & II
  • The Philippines: Life, Death and Revolution
  • Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer
  • Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam
  • Kurt & Courtney
14 Issues and trends  
15 Last class: review of the documentary form  

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