Introduction to Documentary, Second Edition by Bill Nichols

By Bill Nichols

This new version of invoice Nichols’s bestselling textual content presents an updated creation to crucial matters in documentary heritage and feedback. Designed for college students in any box that uses visible facts and persuasive innovations, advent to Documentary identifies the distinguishing characteristics of documentary and teaches the viewer how one can learn documentary movie. each one bankruptcy takes up a discrete query, from "How did documentary filmmaking get started?" to "Why are moral concerns valuable to documentary filmmaking?" rigorously revised to take account of latest paintings and developments, this quantity comprises details on greater than a hundred documentaries published because the first variation, an improved therapy of the six documentary modes, new nonetheless photographs, and a vastly improved checklist of distributors.

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15 The more elaborate definition has another notable flaw: it does not differentiate among different types of documentary. ) Documentaries tend to cluster into different types or modes. They do not all address the historical world in the same way and do not adopt the same cinematic techniques. Voice-over commentary, once taken for granted, became anathema to the observational filmmakers of the 1960s, for example. Filmmakers are not beholden to definitions and rules to govern what they do. They delight in subverting conventions, challenging viewers, provoking debate.

The contentment of traditional small town life, buttressed by worker-friendly factories and plants, is suddenly available to all. The film’s solution is a fascinating mix of visionary planning quite different from the cookie-cutter suburbia of the postwar years and a wishful evasion of hard economic realities. The film makes no reference to race and gives no hint how the urban down and out pick up and move to an idyllic new Shangri-la. What it does do is create a compelling vision of both a problem and a solution.

To say “it goes without saying” that a documentary will have a voice-over commentary or “everyone knows” that a documentary must present both sides of the question is to say what is usually the case within a specific institutional framework. Voice-over commentary, sometimes poetic, sometimes factual, was a strong convention within the government-sponsored film production units headed by John Grierson in 1930s Britain, and reportorial balance, in the sense of not openly taking sides, prevails among the news divisions of network television companies today.

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