DOCUMENTARY FILM Steve Lipkin
COM 4410 217 Sprau Tower
Fall 2007 387-3153; email@example.com
Office Hours: TR 8:30-9:30; W 2-3
Documentary Film surveys the development of the non-fiction film from the decades of the early 1920's and 1930's to present day. This survey will focus on four key periods in the development of film as a document or record of twentieth century life:
a. Flaherty vs. Grierson: basic philosophies inherent in
b. Social theorist documentarians contemporary and subsequent
c. "Direct" cinema or cinema verite
d. Contemporary film/tv documentary styles
1. To define and assess the functions of films that serve as social documents.
2. To study the historical development of documentary film.
3. To relate documentary film theory and practice in each major period of historical development.
4. To assess the mutual influence of TV and film technology on
contemporary documentary activity.
TEXTS: Ellis, Jack, and McLane, B. A New History of Documentary Film.
Nichols, Bill. Introduction to Documentary
a. There will be a mid-term (10/11 - 50 points) and a final exam
(12/10—10:15-12:15 pm -- 100 points)
b. Two (2) papers (50 points each) analyzing nonfiction films. Due dates
to be announced.
c. In-class writing (5-10 points each) covering readings and discussion
e. This course involves an extensive amount of writing, including the
two film analysis papers (average length of 5-7 pages) and two
Because this is a writing intensive course in accordance with the university's baccalaureate-level writing policy, one objective is to improve the quality of your writing. I expect writing quality (grammar, clarity, organization, spelling, and punctuation) of senior or graduate quality. The quality of writing will determine the upper limit of any grade assigned to your papers.
Since much of the work of this class is impossible to make up (e.g., film screenings; discussions) your attendance is extremely important. After one (1) unexcused absence, your final grade will be lowered ten (10) points for
each subsequent unexcused absence.
There will be a sign-in sheet on the stage in front of the room--make sure you initial it when you come in.
GRADING: EXAM POLICY:
The grading scale for this course (both for individual assignments and for your final grades) is based on the following percentages:
94-100 A 70-75 C
88- 93 BA 64-69 DC
82- 87 B 58-63 D
76- 81 CB
9/6 Nanook of the North
9/11 Night Mail
9/13 Las Hurdes
9/18 Listen To
9/20 The River
9/25 The City
9/27 Triumph of the Will
10/2 Prelude to War
10/9 Night and Fog
10/16 Thursday’s Children
1018 Point of Order
10/23 Harvest of Shame
10/25 Rosie the Riveter
11/8 Hearts and Minds
11/15 The Thin Blue Line
11/20 TBA (via class ballot)
*Tentative: subject to change