Documentary film can encompass anything from Robert Flaherty's pioneering ethnography Nanook of the North to Michael Moore's anti-Iraq War polemic Fahrenheit 9/11, from Dziga Vertov's artful Soviet propaganda piece Man with a Movie Camera to Luc Jacquet's heart-tugging wildlife epic March of the Penguins. In this concise, crisply written guide, Patricia Aufderheide takes readers along the diverse paths of documentary history and charts the lively, often fierce debates among filmmakers and scholars about the best ways to represent reality and to tell the truths worth telling.
Beginning with an overview of the central issues of documentary filmmakingits definitions and purposes, its forms and foundersAufderheide focuses on several of its key subgenres, including public affairs films, government propaganda (particularly the works produced during World War II), historical documentaries, and nature films. Her thematic approach allows readers to enter the subject matter through the kinds of films that first attracted them to documentaries, and it permits her to make connections between eras, as well as revealing the ongoing nature of documentary's core controversies involving objectivity, advocacy, and bias. Interwoven throughout are discussions of the ethical and practical considerations that arise with every aspect of documentary production. A particularly useful feature of the book is an appended list of "100 great documentaries" that anyone with a serious interest in the genre should see.
Drawing on the author's four decades of experience as a film scholar and critic, this book is the perfect introduction not just for teachers and students but also for all thoughtful filmgoers and for those who aspire to make documentaries themselves.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
About the Author
Patricia Aufderheide is a professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C., and founder-director of its Center for Social Media. She received the career achievement award for scholarship from the International Documentary Association in 2006 and has served as a Sundance Film Festival juror and as a board member of the Independent Television Service. She is the author, most recently, of The Daily Planet: A Critic on the Capitalist Culture Beat.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Documentaries. They are an amazing way of getting knowledge. From knowledge on grass. To how many doors you can open in an hour. The possibilities are endless. But no one has yet made a documentary on documentaries. Until now. <p> Here is a speach made my Msive Dynamics new owner: Walter Bishop. <br> 'When you watch a documentary. Its like your brain goes into a state of relaxation. Its like... uh... its like when you listen to music while falling asleep. Others peek a human beings intrest and cause masive amounts of... cortexiphan to sync with your brain waves. And...' *the recording gets cut off* <p> What a smart guy. But how are documentaries made? Well. They are made by using light and sound capturing machines powered by ensl<_>aved smurfs. These machines are moved around to the places that will be documented as we like to call it. Just ask these ensl<_>aved smurfs. <p> Smurf one: Help us.... <br> a gun it pressed against the smurfs head. <p> Smurf one: We run around on hamster wheels with a gun pointed at our heads after breakfast and before eighth breakfast which is after second lunch! <br> Smurf two: What he said! Its not like we're saying /every fourth word/. I see why help is bad for us. <br> gun shoots smurf two. <p> Isnt that just amazing. :D they even hire proffesional actors for the documenaries. Like donald duck. And peter griffin. Now please wait while hulu plays an unnescescary advertizment. <p> Do you gt tired of watching documenaries all day? Well be tired no more! Thanks to vudeo games! Instead of becoming smarter. Become dumber with faster apoable thumbs. Dont worry about homework. Use video games! Chores? Yeah. Still do those! <p> Start your day. On a roll. With a wawa breakfast hogie made to order just for you. In the mooorning. Nothing is better. Than bacon and chedder. At waaawaa. <p> Now back to the documentary. <p> *shows guy in underwear dancing by himself.* oops! Wrong film bob! *changes film to blank screen* never mind! I quit! *documentary ends* <p> CREDITS: <p> Narrorator: TheMysteriousTurnip. <p> Walter Bishop: ElectricAngel. <p> Smurfs voices(totally not real smurfs....): TheMysteriousTurnip. <p> CGI stuff: IDFK. <p> Camera guy: Bob the builder. <p> Credit writer: TheMysteriousTurnip.