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WJEC A2 Film Studies FM4 Section B Spectatorship Fahrenheit 9/11 Kurt and Courtney Exemplar

karenardouin | Monday June 10, 2013

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section B: Spectatorship Topics, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Bowling For Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Kurt & Courtney, Genres & Case Studies, Biography, Documentary, History, Music, War, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation, Mock Exams, A Level Mock Exams

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‘A common experience for the spectator when watching a documentary is to be manipulated by the filmmakers’. How far do you agree with this statement? (35)

Generally, documentaries are created in order to impart information and, in the main, to persuade the audience into believing a particular viewpoint. The contract between audience and filmmaker is considered along with the code of ethics with regard to documenting the real. For example, there are questions around the time and space created within the story and the structure and chronology of events. The adding or missing out of certain happenings can detract from the truth of the overall film and perhaps, in this way, documentary has a right of passage to privilege the narrative over the truth. Grierson defined documentary as ‘the creative use of actuality’, which has covered a number of documentary styles and movements over the years, except perhaps, Cinema Verite.

As a spectator, many documentaries can be a challenging experience, the main issues being with the level of authenticity used in order to inform the audience about the specific subject matter. Many filmmakers will try to gently persuade the audience to share their viewpoint and this is especially true of documentary. To what level this manipulation takes place has been discussed throughout the years, from Vertov to Catfish and of course Fahrenheit 9/11.

The latter, directed by Michael Moore, boldly suggests that the reasons for America’s political attack were in fact, in-house. The film investigates Bush’s presidency, the 9/11 attacks and the general state of the political flavour in America. It can be said that Moore’s film is an attacking barrage on American patriotism, with his humorous quips and constant revelations. He has a distinctive style, both as the protagonist/director and in his style of filmmaking.

His films are a construct of montage, first-person participatory form,...

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