Explain how Stories We Tell functions according to reflexive modes of documentary filmmaking.
The purpose of this paper is threefold: to get you thinking actively about the important issues and concepts that arise when considering film theory; to give you some practice synthesizing concepts from various sources; and to give you the chance to apply these concepts to film examples.
You must cite at least three of the assigned readings within the body of your essay.
– Lastra, James. 2000. “Sound Theory.”Sound Technology and the American Cinema: Perception, Representation, Modernity. New York: Columbia University Press, 123-153
– Chion, Michel.1994. “The Real and the Rendered.” Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, Claudia Gorbman, trans. New York: Columbia University Press, 94-122.
– Nichols, Bill. 1983. “The Voice of Documentary.” Film Quarterly 36, no. 3 (Spring): 17-30.
– Bruzzi, Stella. 2006. “The Performative Documentary.” New Documentary (2ndedition). London: Routledge, 185-218
You will be evaluated according to the three following criteria:
• Synthesis of theoretical concepts across different readings.
• Application of theoretical concepts to film analysis.
• Depth of film analysis.
1. Explain how Stories We Tell functions according to reflexive modes of documentary filmmaking. Make specific reference to the idea of “voice” in the film, both literal and metaphorical.
2. Identify a key issue that sound theory and documentary theory hold in common. Demonstrate how this common issue can be traced in one of the films screened in class.
3. What does Michel Chion mean by the difference between the “real” and the
“rendered” in film sound, and how does this difference relate to James Lastra’s
“fidelity” and “intelligibility” models for film sound? Demonstrate how these ways of thinking about film sound can be traced in one of the films screened in class.
4. Correlate how reflexive and/or performative documentary theories overlap with issues in auteur theory. Demonstrate how this overlap plays out in one of the films screened in class.
5. Explain how a feminist take on auteur theory responds to early auteur theorists like Peter Wollen. Demonstrate how feminist auteur theory raises issues that can be traced in the work of a particular filmmaker screened in class.
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