What are the six types of documentaries?

What are the six types of documentaries?

Bill Nichols, an American cinema critic and theorist, claimed in 1991 that there were six distinct modes of documentary—poetic, explanatory, reflexive, observational, performative, and participatory—each with its own distinct qualities. Other scholars have made similar arguments.

Poetic documentaries use poetry to express ideas, feelings, or events associated with people or places. They often use music as well. Poetic documentaries can be either fiction or nonfiction. Some examples include How Music Works by David Brewster (nonfiction), and music videos by Michael Jackson (fictional).

Explanatory documentaries provide information about people, places, or events. They do this through interviews, research studies, and/or observations. Some examples include The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris (nonfiction) and Rattle & Hum by Jon Jostle (fictional).

Reflexive documentaries explore the process of making a film, rather than focusing on the content itself. They do so through interviews, discussions, or even films themselves (i.e., docufictions). Some examples include Cinerama Theatre: A Journey of Sound & Image by Cinerama (nonfiction) and Chasing Amy by Richard Linklater (fictional).

Observational documentaries show and tell with no intervention from the filmmaker.

What are the three types of documentary?

We explore at three types of documentaries in this VOD: observational, explanatory, and participative. You'll examine examples of films that successfully utilised each of the three genres.

Observational documentaries include Alive Inside: A Story of Survival and Recovery for Autism and Beyond, which follows two very different men as they battle addiction and other challenges while trying to find their way back to life after autism; and For God's Sake, Give My Regards to Broad Street, which explores religion, politics, and culture through the lens of Philadelphia's Main Line suburb. The films show how people struggle with issues such as depression, addiction, and violence even though they live in peaceful neighbourhoods where you wouldn't expect such problems to exist.

Explanatory documentaries include The Inventors, which examines the many inventions that have changed our lives over the past 200 years; and An Inconvenient Truth, which shows how climate change is affecting the world and what can be done to stop it.

Participative documentaries include Dear Zachary: a Letter to a Son about a boy who killed himself, and Looking for Langston, which invites viewers to send in photographs of themselves wearing glasses so that others without vision problems will not suffer discrimination due to incorrect assumptions about their eye condition.

What do all these documentaries have in common?

Documentaries share qualities that distinguish them from other film kinds (particularly fiction films) in the following ways: 1 subjects; 2 aims, points of view, or approaches; 3 formats; 4 production processes and techniques; and 5 the types of experiences they provide audiences.

These similarities are not accidental but rather reflect a mutual dependence between documentary practices. Fundamentally, documentaries are stories told with photographs or other forms of visual media, which is why many documentaries use interviews as well as photos. Interviews are important for two main reasons: first, to get expert opinions on topics of interest; second, to understand how people think and feel about certain issues.

In addition to interviews, documentaries often include other types of filmed material such as home movies, news clips, and music videos. These elements serve to enrich the narrative by providing context, illustrating events/situations, and commenting on them respectively. They can also help tell the story behind the scenes, such as filming conditions or historical artifacts. Finally, documentaries may use live action photography or video footage taken by the director(s) themselves. This is especially common among non-fiction films made for educational purposes.

Non-fiction films deal with real events that usually involve someone's attempt to explain or interpret some aspect of reality. This could be as simple as showing what happens when you drop something down a flight of stairs to creating a documentary about your experience as an athlete.

What mode of documentary is Louis Theroux?

Manner of participation Michael Moore, Nick Broomfield, and Louis Theroux are excellent instances of what Bill Nichols refers to as documentary's participatory method. All three filmmakers make use of a variety of media (including, in Moore's case, feature-length films) to communicate with their audience.

Theroux began his career in 1992 by making personal documentaries about various subjects, including prisons, prostitution, and mental illness. He has since shifted his focus to include more social issues in his work.

His style has been described as "an intimate and often humorous look at the human condition." This approach was evident from the beginning when he made My Mum's Car, which looked at the effects of drug addiction on one family. It won the Channel 4 New Media Award and has been cited as an example of how traditional documentary techniques can be used in new ways within web technology.

In addition to My Mum's Car, other notable early works include There's No Place Like Home: A Journey Through America's Mental Hospitals (1993), which examined the treatment of mental illness; and The Devil's Playground (1997), which focused on violence against women.

Since then, Theroux has continued to explore a range of topics including politics, culture, and psychology.

What is the poetic mode of documentary?

A poetic documentary is a type of documentary film that employs avant-garde methods to elicit a certain mood or sensation rather than proving a point through a typical linear narrative format. The term was coined by French filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni in 1970 and has been used repeatedly since then in reviews, interviews, and other writings.

Some critics have applied the label to more recent films by younger directors such as Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011), which uses archive footage and interviews to create a feeling of loss and mourning for a family destroyed by violence, and Lenny Abrahamson's Room (2015), which uses flashbacks to tell the story of a young woman struggling with depression after her boyfriend disappears under mysterious circumstances.

Other filmmakers have criticized this usage of the term as an insult. Terrence Malick, for example, called it "a terrible idea" when interviewed by Stephen Holden about making his 1995 film Dead Poets Society, a fictional account of a school where pupils are taught by living poets, using only words from Shakespeare's plays.

Even though Antonioni himself never used the term to describe any of his own films, it has become associated with his name because many critics believe his influence can be seen in these newer, less conventional approaches to filmmaking.

What are the different forms of documentaries?

Documentary as a genre

  • Expository. Expository documentary features an omnipresent, omniscient and/or objective presence, typically expressed as narration to organize and present the content.
  • Poetic.
  • Essayistic.
  • Observational.
  • Participatory.
  • Performance.
  • Interview.
  • Dramatization.

What conventions are used to communicate with an audience in the genre of documentary?

Here is a collection of documentary filmmaking norms; keep in mind that not all rules apply to all film texts: Encoding realism and "truth" using a handheld camera Narrative Voice Over: Guides the audience through a preferred reading. Experts, witnesses, and others are interviewed and given vox pops. Often a narrator will describe what they see during filming. The audio portion of the film is called the soundtrack. Documentary films often use actual recordings instead of acting as background music. Editing: Typically, the editor will choose which clips to include in the final product based on how well they fit together narratively. Some documentaries may be entirely composed of one long continuous shot. Others may use several short clips woven together with electronic effects.

These are just some of the many types of documentary films. There are factual television programs such as National Geographic's series that do not fall under any specific category other than general entertainment. There are also fictional works that have been labeled as "documentaries" such as Errol Morris' 1998 film The Thin Blue Line about a murder case. Finally, there are artistic works that have been called "non-narrative documentaries" such as Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962) or Werner Herzog's Lovers, Angels & Airplanes (1977).

The fact that these are only guidelines means that there are many ways to interpret them.

About Article Author

Phyllis Piserchio

Phyllis Piserchio is a lover of all things creative and artsy. She has a passion for photography, art, and writing. She also enjoys doing crafts and DIY projects. Phyllis loves meeting new people with similar interests, so she's active in many online communities related to her passions.


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