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Documentary Comparisons


            In this paper I intend to discuss the four basic types of a documentary. I will follow that by describing and detailing the documentary that I have chosen, Crumb (Zwigoff, 1994) and relating it to the category of documentaries that it falls into. This film happens to fall into a new category I have titled, "Character Study." A character study documentary examines a certain individual through expository images, imperfect interactive scenes, observational-like take, and by teasing the audience with very few performative shots. Interlaced through this paper are certain notes that I deduced about its style and structure, including camera movement, music, lighting, and more. To conclude, I will reiterate the points that I made in the paper. .
             During class we learned about the four basic types of a documentary. We made visual assessments of each type of documentary by watching examples in class. The most "traditional" type of documentary is the expository documentary. An expository documentary is a type in which an incorporeal and authoritative voiceover describes a sequence of images that aim to be evocative and enlightening. An example of an expository documentary is London Can Take It (Jennings and Watt, 1940). An interactive documentary such as Roger and Me (Moore, 1989) can be described as a type in which the filmmaker's presence is acknowledged by viewers, and in reality is prominent as he or she interacts with the people or events being filmed. These people or events are drawn into direct contact with the filmmaker, whose actions perform to hold the film together. Wild Man Blues (Kopple, 1998) is a model of an observational documentary, which presents a "slice of life." In this case the documentary portrays a "slice" of Woody Allen's life. The documentary attains the impression of "reality" without interference from the filmmaker, an uninvolved bystander. There is no voiceover, no titles, and no interviews.


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