Defining "Documentary" Continued: Nanook of the North
Review: What are the basic functions of documentary?
--represents reality—records; provides evidence; asserts truth claims
In light of the Rodney King video, is it fair to say that documentary films present facts?
1. Nanook as a "definitive" documentary
--first influential doc.—why?
--first doc. w/a recognizable doc. Style
--first that has an important, extended relationship to the reality that it represents—the “real world” is the film’s primary subject
--“timelessness”—why? What is the source of this sense of timelessness in the film?
--exemplifies a “romantic tradition” in documentary (emphasis on nature)—what are the film’s arguments about nature?
2. Flaherty and Nanook
--Flaherty (a Michigander)—son of mine owner/manager—raised close to nature
--went on 4 expeditions to east Hudson Bay
--modes of presentation:
--"documentary" characteristics: subjects; viewpoint; purpose; form; production approach; audience response
--Flaherty and the "romantic tradition"
--Flaherty compared to Grierson?
--sources (traditions) for documentary?
Ellis, Chapt. 2
--Nanook as a sponsored film—effect?
--structure in Nanook?
--conflict(s) in the film?
--arguments in the film?
--why is the distinction important between “the world” and “a world”?
--Nichols uses the word “fidelity” here—what is at stake?
Has Flaherty been true to “the world” that he set out to document?