Documentary Films: The River, Gap Toothed Women, and Lonely Boy

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The River (1938)
Gap Toothed Women (1980’s)
Lonely Boy (1960’s)

Documentary Film

Wolf Koenig:
“Here I should digress for a moment and talk about this editing business. The fact is, every cut is a lie. The cutaway of someone intently listening to someone speak is shot after – or before – the actual conversation. Even with multiple camera shoots, the editor uses the ideal reaction shot rather than the exact, matching moment. And when one cuts back to the speaker, likely as not, a long chunk of the actual conversation is dropped in order to get to the point. So, the truth is adjusted. The irony is that, in editing, one has to like to tell the truth, otherwise the audience would die of boredom or the truth would be smothered under a mountain of chaff”

Three moments in documentary film history:
1.government sponsored education/propaganda in the 1930’s: The River 2.Made-for television direct cinema in the 1960s: Lonely Boy 3.“expressive” independent cinema in the late 1980/1990: a.Gap Toothed Women (Les Blank, 1987)

b.The thin blue line (Errol Morris, 1989)
c.Roger and me (Michael Moore, 1987)

Wolf Koenig
“The editing of a documentary is like creating something out of thin air, the shots are often unrelated in time and space and yet, by bringing them together correctly, they begin to attract each other and cohere, like mollecules.”

Types of non-narrative form in documentary films:
“A film might be intended to convey information in a simple fashion and hence draw on what we can term categorical form. Or the filmmaker may want to make an argument that will convince the spectator of something. In this case the film draws upon rhetorical form.”

Four attributes of rhetorical form: address to the viewer
2.concern with a matter of opinion, open to multiple possible interpretations appeal to not only factual evidence but to emotions attempt to persuade the viewer to make a choice affecting the viewer’s...
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