Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Review

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Checklist for Your Documentary Review

Titicut Follies
Titicut Follies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Checklist for Your Documentary Review

·     *  Include summary of the basic arguments of the film, but that summary should not constitute the bulk of your story. I want your analysis.

·      * Evaluate the effectiveness of how the film makes its argument through selecting credible sources. Specifically, what about those sources makes them seem credible?

·     *  Evaluate the effectiveness of how Kunze uses the techniques of filmmaking to buttress his argument. The quality of the lighting, the sound, the compositions, the editing, the use and quality of graphics can influence the acceptance or rejection of his argument.

·      * As Menand’s New Yorker essay suggests, documentaries aren’t “objective” in the common definition of the term. Many don’t try for even the semblance of “fair and balanced.” However, we might judge a documentary so one-sided, so far beyond fair and so far beyond balanced that it begins to work against itself, to turn us away from its arguments. Where does Mobilize fall on that spectrum? Some documentaries leave us feeling manipulated to the extent we dismiss their argument. 

·      * In any case, I would not much like your coming out of any documentary saying that you are now completely convinced of its point of view and are ready to act on its recommendations without further study. Where does Kunze’s documentary leave you? So indifferent to its arguments you have no interest in further inquiry? Intrigued enough to do some research on the topic? Ready to adopt its recommendations after a little/some/much further study?

·      * Kevin Kunze told the class his is essentially a voice-of-God documentary. That is, he does the voiceover. Consider analyzing how often he, as narrator, tells us what to think and do and how often he merely provides the context for his sources. Also, apparently at least once in this documentary he appears as a participant. Does that affect your reaction to the documentary for good or ill?

No comments:

Post a Comment