For my final paper, I wrote about the how a French tightrope walker named Philippe Petit walked across the North and South Tower on the morning of August 7th, 1974. I found this documentary very interesting as to why did a man want to risk his life just to walk across New York City’s sky scraper? Not only did he accomplish the goals he previously set out for himself, but he also did it within a timely manner. James Marsh shot and directed this incredible stunt that morning. James not having been known for his “great” cinematography in prior years, he managed to put together an “near perfect” documentary this time around. I planned to use < http://www.comingsoon.net/> and < http://voices.yahoo.com/man-wire-review- 1799405.html> as a few references to start out with. These two outside sources have allowed me insight on how James Marsh went about making this film about a French man who risks his life in order to complete a goal that seemed almost impossible.
Comment on Ivens’ view of objectivity in documentary. Can a documentary filmmaker be objective? Are there certain subjects/circumstances were it is impossible to be truly objective?
I believe it is very possible for a documentary film maker to be objective when making a film. A good film maker will be able to choose to show both sides, not just biased footage. Personally, I think it is our duty when making a documentary to show all sides and be as truthful as possible. I hate watching documentaries that are basically just propaganda and brainwash, which is what a lot of them are turning into these days.
However, there are certain instances where it would be impossible to be completely objective. Lots of times, documentaries are funded by companies, interest groups, and even the government. A film maker could easily be forced to show only one side because of their position in the hierarchy.
We spoke in class about the ethics of showing certain images. Blog about your thoughts about Night and Fog. Also, what do you think about showing scenes of extreme violence (actually captured on film, or recreated). Point to examples if you would like.
I thought Night and Fog was an extremely graphic film. I had seen similar images and film of the Holocaust before, however this was an extreme eye opener. The previous things I had seen were just thrown in my face, and not shown in this type of artistic and poetic way. This touched more on the emotional aspect with the way the film gradually started showing more graphic material, and then basically bombarded you with these images toward the end.
Personally, I feel that showing scenes of extreme violence is bad for society. For example, the movie Hotel Rwanda shows recreated scenes of extremely graphic massacres. You never know what images like this can do to a person’s psyche. Thousands or even millions of people can end up watching the film, and there are surely mentally unstable people involved in that audience.
Instead of critically writing about these films, I would like to use this blog entry as an opportunity to brainstorm about stories or subjects that you are personally connected with that you could possibly make a film about. Once you get a few ideas down think about a wider goal for the film other than “I’m interested in the subject.”
When brainstorming about possible ideas for a documentary I could do, I realized I want to capture someone around me who has achieved success through adversity. I would like to go in depth about an individual whose hard work and dedication allowed him to reach his goal. I personally know Malcolm Jenkins from my hometown, and his story is very captivating as well as motivating. He achieved his ultimate goal of making it to the NFL and now plays for the New Orleans Saints as a free safety. I feel like this film could impact others in a motivational way as well showing an emotional story.
The Salesman is a very intriguing film because of how Albert and David Maysles along with two others travel across country to sell expensive bibles knowing they might be turned down repeatedly. I really didn’t like this film for the simple fact that it didn’t have any narration because the documentaries I usually enjoy watching have a narrative that helps move the story along. Watching the film made me a little on the angry side, because when they would try to sell these over priced bibles to the young couple who had a family and could barely afford rent.
The way in which the film was portrayed, was to me, very different. As i stated previously, I wasn’t too fond of the film not having any narration. But I realized that this was done only because it was intended to be a cinema verite movie. Even though i didn’t like it, I can respect how difficult it must’ve been to edit without narration, in order to make the story make sense.