FAV156 Chapters from the history of world documentary film before 1945

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2009
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Andrea Slováková (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
prof. PhDr. Jiří Voráč, Ph.D.
Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: prof. PhDr. Jiří Voráč, Ph.D.
Thu 15:00–18:15 C34
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 14 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
The overview course will introduce the early documentary filmmaking as well as documentaries made between the world wars and during WW II. It will consist of twelve ninety-minute lectures. It will seek to find roots of various stylistic approaches, which led to a formation of a filmmaking practice called "documentary" since 1930s, and also point out further uses of these approaches and their stabilization in the realm of global non-fiction cinema.
The lectures will focus on the analysis of shots, montage, later on sound, music and commentary, intertitles and other methods of expression. It will also highlight important aspects of the institutional background, sources of financing and aims of the documentary films themselves. Other topics will include idealization in ethnographic films or travelogues, social commitment, role of staging, advertising, propaganda, sciences and film. All these topics accompanied by movie extracts with all their ambiguity should remain open for interpretation.
Main objectives: The course in open no only to film studies students but also other students interested in audiovisual culture and various breakthrough and borderline forms of film. At the end of the semester the students should orient themselves well in the wide field of documentary filmmaking of the first half of the 20th century.
  • I. + II.
  • forms and subgenres of documentary films, lectures outline
  • documentary film as opposed to other forms of filmmaking practices / prehistory – documentary photography, school of gaze / visual pedagogy / news bulletins / travelogues / realism and construction of reality
  • III. + IV.
  • focus on man and country
  • ethnographic and poetic documentary films / expedition recordings / testimonies vs idealization / those who are filmed participate on the filmmaking process / amount of staging / various degrees of narration / amateur home filmmaking – authors, aims, forms of presentation
  • V. + VI.
  • from news to avant-garde, material manipulation
  • avant-garde and ideological bases of documentary filmmaking / Kino-Pravda, Kino-Nedelya, Kino-Oko manifesto / relation of film and truth / role of montage / compilation films / sources of materials and archiving
  • VII. + VIII.
  • documentary films and society – mutual responsibility and uses
  • social documentary / British documentary movement / science and film / documentary film and institutions / National Film Board of Canada / financing documentary films
  • IX. + X.
  • conviction and convincing
  • committed filmmaking / convincing strategies / propaganda / documentary footage in commercials
  • XI. + XII.
  • documentary filmmaking during WW II: its roles and features
  • GAUTHIER, Guy. Dokumentární film, jiná kinematografie. Translated by Ladislav Šerý. 1. vyd. V Praze: Akademie múzických umění, 2004. 507 s. ISBN 8073310236. info
  • DO I. – VI. sborník textů o dokumentu (vybrané texty doporučené na jednotlivých přednáškách). Jihlava: JSAF, 2003 – 2008.
  • NICHOLS, Bill. Intoduction to documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. xviii, 223. ISBN 0253214696. info
  • NICHOLS, Bill. Representing reality :issues and concepts in documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991. xx, 313 s. ISBN 0-253-20681-2. info
  • PLANTINGA, Carl R. Rhetoric and representation in nonfiction film. 1st pub. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. x, 255. ISBN 0521573262. info
  • PLANTINGA, Carl: Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film. Cambridge University Press, 1997 (kapitola Hlas a autorita vyšla i ve slovenském překladu, v Kino Ikon č. 2, 2007).
  • Theorizing documentary. Edited by Michael Renov. New York: Routledge, 1993. ix, 261. ISBN 0415903823. info
  • SCHNEIDEROVÁ, Alexandra: Performance v rodinném filmu. Iluminace, 16, č. 3 (2004), s. 69-84.

  • LEACOCK, Richard: Obrana flahertyovských tradícií. Kino Ikon, 5, č. 1 (2001), s. 136-143.
  • GAUDREAULT, A., MARION, Ph.: Boh je autor dokumentárnych filmov. Kino Ikon, 6, č. 2 (2002), s. 95-106.
  • WEES, William: Doména montáže: kompilácia, koláž, prispôsobenie. Kino Ikon, 9, č. 1 (2005), s. 159-170.
  • YOUDELMAN, Jeffrey: Narration, Invention and History: a documentary dilemma. Cineaste, 12, č. 2 (1982), s. 8-15.
Teaching methods
Lectures and screenings. - Date: November 12., 19. and 26. and December 3., 10. and 17. (Th 15:00-18:15).
Assessment methods
Colloquium: written analysis and oral exam.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials

  • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
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