University of the West of England


(Revised November 2002)

Code: UACPCL-30-3 Title: Documentary Film Version: 3

Level: 3 UWE credit rating: 30 ECTS credit rating: 15

Module type: Standard

Owning Faculty: Creative Arts Field: Culture and Media Studies Field Leader: J Arthurs

Valid from: April 2008 Discontinued from:

Contributes towards: Awards up to BA(Hons)

Pre-requisites: Any level 2 Film Studies Module

Co-requisites: None

Excluded combinations: None

Learning outcomes:

Students, on successful completion of this module, should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

• give an informed account in the overall history of documentary cinema;

• analyse the specific qualities of documentary film language;

• understand the key debates concerning ideological, aesthetic and ethical issues in documentary cinema;

• critically read a wide range of texts, academic and otherwise;

• evaluate and articulate complex ideas;

• argue coherently drawing on relevant evidence and theoretical approaches;

• present ideas and arguments clearly;

• identify sources and accessing resources in a comprehensive range of formats;

• using a range of IT and multimedia applications in the preparation and presentation of work

Syllabus outline:

A survey of the history of documentary through a number of key directors and movements, such as Flaherty, Vertov, Ivens, Jennings and the British documentary cinema of the 1930s, Rouch, cinéma vérité and direct cinema, de Antonio, Alvarez and Latin American documentary, etc.

Attention is given to ideological concerns embodied in these instances; the location of documentary outside mainstream cinema but in other spaces within the public sphere; the evolution of documentary film language (including its relation to changes in the technological apparatus of production); and the ethics of representation.

Teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught primarily through a combination of illustrated lectures, screenings with discussion, and seminars.

Indicative sources:

Barnouw, E Documentary, a History of the Non-Fiction Film, (New York: Oxford University Press,1974)

Nichols, B Representing Reality : Issues and Concepts in Documentary, (Bloomington:

Indiana University Press, 1991)

Rosenthal, A (ed.) The Documentary Conscience, (Berkeley. London: University of California Press, 1980)

Rosenthal, A (ed.) New Challenges in Documentary, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988)

Tomaselli, K Appropriating Images, The Semiotics of Visual Representation, (Hřjbjerg, Denmark: Intervention Press, 1996)

Winston, B Claiming the Real, The Documentary Film Revisited, (British Film Institute,1995)


Weighting between components A and B (standard modules only) A: 25% B: 75%


First Assessment Opportunity

Component A

Description of each element Element weighting

1. Exam (2 hours) 25%

Component B

Description of each element Element weighting

1. Essay (2000 words) 25%

2. Essay (4000 words) 50%

Second Assessment Opportunity (further attendance at taught classes is not required)

Component A

Description of each element Element weighting

1. Exam (2 hours) 25%

Component B

Description of each element Element weighting

1. Essay (6000 words) 75%

SECOND (OR SUBSEQUENT) ATTEMPT: Attendance at taught classes is not required.

Specification confirmed by …………………………………………………Date ……………………………

(Associate Dean/Programme Director)

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