Documentary Film will introduce students to the theory, history and ethics of the film genre corrupted by "reality television". We will explore such recent, thought provoking documentaries as "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Spellbound" as well as documentaries that influenced and inspired those films.
We will explore numerous issues confronted by documentary filmmakers by viewing representative films and discussing the issues each poses. These issues--including re-enactment, fair treatment of the subjects, politics and ethics--have confronted documentarians since the beginning of cinema. The themes we are studying are particularly timely against a backdrop of recent questioning of just how far members of the media can go and what they can do to get their "stories". Among the filmmakers to be considered are Robert Flaherty, Leni Riefenstahl, Jean Rouch, Alain Resnais, Fred Wiseman, the Maysles brothers, Emile de Antonio and Errol Morris.