1930s UK and German Documentary essay
We watched many films in film studies and most of them seemed harmless but when asked the question is the films that we watched documentary or propaganda? We are first faced with the question what is propaganda and how did it affect the society in the 1930s. Propaganda is mainly used to get or influence people to buy or believe whatever you are saying. You use it when you want to sell something or push your opinion on something. Propaganda is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviours of large numbers of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. Films that were made in the United Kingdom in the 1930s were started by The GPO Film Unit. The unit was established in 1933, taking on responsibilities of the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit. Headed by John Grierson. JG invented the word documentary previously factual films were called actualities. They were films of actual events (not fictional) JG is described as the father (pioneer) of documentary. He set up the GPO film unit and brought together famous photographers, film makers and sociologists. His idea was to create a team that could study how British people and workers lived and worked. His team focused on the hard work of the ordinary man. GPO stands for the general post office that controlled the telephone system and so they were interested in funding other new technology like film. The film was made with a camera which weighed 100 pounds made from wood and brass was on tripods and not handheld, sound was recorded separately. It was set up to produce sponsored documentary films Created 75 years ago out of the ashes of the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit; the GPO Film Unit was one of the most remarkable creative institutions that Britain has produced. Directors John Grierson, Alberto Cavalcanti, Humphrey Jennings, Basil Wright, Harry Watt, Edgar Anstey and Arthur Elton are the people who spearheaded and contributed to the success of the GPO Film Unit. The Unit will be forever associated with John Grierson and his idea of documentary cinema. During his spell in charge (1933-1937), Grierson oversaw the creation of a film school that he attempted to direct towards a socially useful purpose. Grierson was a pioneering Scottish documentary maker, often considered the father of British and Canadian documentary film. A very successful film made by Grierson is Granton Trawler in which he directed, it was only his second time directing a film.
Granton Trawler follows the small fishing vessel, Isabella Greig, as it carries out its fishing along the Viking Bank off the Norwegian coast of the North Sea. John Grierson used the film to teach young directors how to examine movement photographically and how to make use of sound for editing. The soundtrack is consists of unpolished rhythmic noises that interpret the thumping of the ships engine and sounds that can be heard when being present on board. There is no commentary. The sounds were all post-recorded, made in the studio. Although not credited, Alberto Cavalcanti is known to have created the soundtrack as one of his first creative duties after arriving at the Unit. Grierson also took part in the sound as being one of the voices for the fisherman. The film was shot during them Empire Marketing Board Period and was later finished after the unit had been transferred to the GPO. Surprisingly Grierson who spent a large majority of the First World War guarding the seas on mine-sweepers, the weather between the Shetland and the Norwegian coast and Grierson fell foul to being seasick for the first and only time in his life. Grierson was using a tripod, as he demanded all Empire Board camera men should and with the tripod falling over in the stormy weather, the camera was moving all over the place. When the camera had fallen over it had been left running and...
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