Ellis, pp. 44-56 (“European Avant-garde”)


--What is the “avant-garde”?  why does it cross-feed with documentary?


--What were “city symphonies?”  What are they attempts to document?  How is “Rain” an example of this kind of documentary?



Listen to Britain:


How is the film similar to and different from Night Mail?   (What does the film show of the values of documentary film that Grierson advocated?)


--How is Jennings’s interest in poetry evident in the film?


--How does what you see in the film show:


          --capturing “the spirit of the moment”

          --“vignettes of human behavior under extraordinary stress”

          --that Jennings’s films “observe” and are ultimately

          --“films of affirmation”


--re: p. 33 (and beyond) in Nichols:  how is Listen an advancement of what Nichols calls the “poetic” mode of documentary?




Social Theorist Documentary; Bunuel and Las Hurdes (Land Without Bread)


--  Bunuel and the surrealists--share the mission of getting at the essential nature of things


--the everyday, conscious, rational world is repressive

--the more more important "reality" is the world of the unconscious

--dreams are the expression of the "true" nature of life


Bunuel's first film:  Chien Andalou (made with S. Dali)


--  Las Hurdes (Land Without Bread): form; argument


modeled on the travelogue--applies it to its subject (the Hurdanos region of Spain in the early 1930s)


Nichols, pp. 1-19:


What do documentary films represent?


Why does Nichols use the phrase “social actors” to describe people who become subjects of documentary films?


Why, in Nichols’s view, does Land Without Bread represent people in the ways that we see in the film?


Who are the various parties implicit in the documentary film communication situation as Nichols sketches out the possibilities?