Documentary: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


1st Edition

By David Saunders


288 pages

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pub: 2010-04-21
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Dave Saunders’ spirited introduction to documentary covers its history, cultural context and development, and the approaches, controversies and functions pertaining to non-fiction filmmaking. Saunders examines the many methods by which documentary conveys meaning, whilst exploring its differing societal purposes.

After a historical consideration of international documentary production, the author examines the impact of recent technological developments on the production, distribution and viewing of non-fiction. In addition, he explores the increasingly hazy distinctions between factual and dramatic formats, discussing ‘reality television’, the ‘docu-drama’, and less orthodox approaches including animated and fantastical representations of reality.

Documentary encompasses a broad range of academic discourse around non-fiction filmmaking, introducing readers to the key filmmakers, major scholars, central debates and critical ideas relating to the form. This wide-ranging guidebook features global releases from the 1920s through to 2009, and includes films such as:

  • Nanook of the North (1922)
  • The Man with the Movie Camera (1929)
  • Night Mail (1936)
  • Night and Fog (1955)
  • Primary (1960)
  • Roger and Me (1989)
  • Tarnation (2003)
  • My Winnipeg (2006)
  • Sicko (2007)
  • Waltz With Bashir (2008)
  • Say My Name (2009)
  • Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2009)

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: Acknowledgements Introduction Part I: ‘A Troubled and Difficult Art’: A Brief Introduction to Non-Fiction Film Chapter One: The ‘D’ Word: Definitions, ‘Obligations’ and Functions Chapter Two: Major Trends, Movements and Voices Part II: Reading Non-Fiction: Case Studies, Concepts and Criticism Chapter Three: Pioneers Nanook of the North (1922): Narrativising the Real The Man with the Movie Camera (1929): Montage and Ideology Night Mail (1936): The Poetics and Politics of Class Chapter Four: Bards Night and Fog (1955): Articulating the Unspeakable My Winnipeg (2006): A City of the Mind Waltz With Bashir (2008): Conflict and Memory Chapter Five: Performers Tarnation (2003): Performance and Autobiography Sicko (2007): Michael Moore, Documentary Superstar Say My Name (2009); Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2009): Rockumentary Revivals Conclusion: New Challenges, Territories and Directions A Select, Chronological Filmography Bibliography

About the Author

Dr. Dave Saunders is working on a number of research projects, the latest of which is a history of rock musicians acting in the cinema. His previous publications include Direct Cinema: Observational Documentary and the Politics of the Sixties (2007), and Arnold: Schwarzenegger and the Movies (2009).

About the Series

Routledge Film Guidebooks

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
FICTION / Media Tie-In
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies