The Art & History of Documentary
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Communication
Course Number: NFLM 3489
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Film & Video History, Theory & Criticism
  • Media Studies
  • Documentary Filmmaking
Documentary filmmaking is a broad and diverse cinematic form that variously informs, delights, angers, touches, provokes, calls to action, shapes attitudes, and challenges assumptions. This introduction to the genre of ostensibly non-fiction filmmaking begins with the earliest actuality films of the Lumiere brothers and moves through the deployment of various documentary modes and aesthetics including propagandic, expositional, direct cinema, poetic, performative and self-reflexive explorations of film truth. The course examines how changing technology, shifting social and political realities, and the personalities and talents of influential individuals have continually re-defined what documentary means. Ethical as well as aesthetic issues are considered. Throughout the class, as we survey the art and history of documentary filmmaking, we supplement our viewing of various films with reading, written response, and discussion.
Course Open to: Majors Only