Cultural theory and Documentary film

Documentaries on the net
August 2, 2012, 09:38
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Had just to share this website which I found today. Haven´t investigated it´s value but it seemed so promising that I decided it should be here.

Reporting from the wild
September 6, 2011, 21:52
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Sceneries from nature and documented wildlife is still a form of documentary that is in great demand. I think the BBC-series Life is widely known, and I stumbled upon a fascinating series today. Several teams of german cameramen have done an impressing job in deepest wilds of Russia. As with the BBC series they have used the latest technical equipment and cameras and produced awesome pictures of landscapes and animals.

One would hope that this programs actually conveys information and commitment for people to preserve our last resorts of true wildlife.,p112192,2,f,-1



A newly opened goldmine for filmbuffs
April 20, 2011, 10:19
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The swedish national moviearchive have digitalized an enormus amount of its archived titles and has now opened a website for them. It opened in february with 300 movies and more will be included continueously.

It is a cooperation between the National Library of Sweden and the Swedish Film institute.

Take a look at the collections here:

Great interactive project
March 24, 2011, 19:18
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Here is a profoundley interesting idea done by the Canadian National Film board. They combine places all over the world on a site, and every spot covered has a place where pictures have been taken both inside and outside the building. The key-word seems to be buildings which rises high above the ground. This is truely a interesting way to armchair travel through the world…

Film archive on the net
November 1, 2010, 13:09
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I am not sure if I have promoted travelfilmarchives here before. Whatever, it is a goldmine of documentaries and you could explore it for a lifetime. So I couldn´t resist publishing this one little gem with freezing pictures from Sweden.

Does documentary make difference?
January 13, 2010, 19:02
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Documentary footing has proven to make difference, one notable filmclip was the police brutality towards Rodney King which was witnessed and filmed by a person through one of the windows in her apartment.
But if you think of ordinary documentaries done by professionals, I sincerely wonder about their ability to influence.

Fredrik Gertten made the documentary movie “Bananas” about bananaworkers that had been and still is risking severe damage by the poisons used by banana companies. And I wonder if somebody more, than the usual 5 percent that care about human conditions and does actions to make a difference, even would have noticed the documentary altogether.
Now the documentary hit the headlines of the big press in several countries because of the lawsuit filed by the Dole Company in order to silence the critic. And the movie and the situation of the Banna workers got noticed by very much more people than usually for conscience hitting documentary material.

Then did the documentary do any massive impact on opionion? Well Dole, for what I know, still does sell loads of bananas. The working conditions hasn´t surely improved in any great extent, with expection of a small increase in interest for Fair trade bananas.
The documentary has moved on to be shown in public theatres at least in Sweden, but it goes for only a short period in a few small saloons, and the visitors are the usual crowd of “do-gooders” that drives the whole activist and political action in the westworld…

I am sure that the documentary hadn´t even seen so much of moviesaloon´s if Dole hadn´t made such fuss of it.The lesson learned is, are you doing crooked business, just go on doing it, do not draw any attention to critics as it only exposes you. And if you are big enough just do whatever you want, the masses will keep on consuming your products if they are cheap enough…

One minute documentaries
October 25, 2009, 15:37
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Is the pure documentary setting up a camera at a given point and film whatever happens in front of it? The literature we have read makes often the point that the camera in itself displaces some of the reality it is supposed to catch. But how should we analyze this example with a videotake from inside a car that could be or could not be observed by those involved as scenery.

The development of cameras steadily decreasing their size and increasing their capability to catch sound and picture is exceptional. What will this mean to documentary, obviously we are getting more and more footage that just wasn´t possible to accumulate earlier.

In this excerpt of reality, the camera is set up inside a cars front window, and we are seeing a apparently random view while the car is waiting for traffic lights to change. We see a person waiting with a dog and a gasstation in the background. It is raining although we aren ´t really sure of the weather since the lead is the windshieldwipers swiping that gives the suggestion of weather conditions mostly. The picture has a misty quality that could be because rainy weather but it could be accomplished by the camera being off-focus. Obviously it has rained since the streets are wet.

Is there any point in making these documentaries? Is it meaningful to document moments and places, situations that is never to be recreated, this is a unique location of the camera documenting a unique setting, a moment of weather conditions and trafficflow that just like all other moments just diappears. And just how musch time can spend on contemplating lost moments that disappears into the vast realms of history?

And is this documentary or should we have to invent another definition to timepieces like these?

Tis film is part of a project on the videosite Vimeo, where the creators of website have invited people to upload one-minute takings without cameramovements. Which of course reminds of the dogma-movie thesis of natural moviemaking…

Construction of fiction and unfiction
August 27, 2009, 17:39
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Constructions of reality, construction of fiction, everything is construction..
The construction of fiction is very near the stage where real life actions are made obsolete. You can build a whole movie pixel by pixel according to your wishes and the technique is providing means for getting nearer the feel of reality for every new version of several 3 D programs. The animated movie makes progress and brings reality to such semblance that we don´t always even notice it in the movies of today. But still we have a maybe diffused, but in general clear divide between fiction documentary and animated film. But borders are trespassed and, I believe, does so even without the audience noticing it.
And how easily we are deceived depends on how culturally trained we are to read film. Backlighted backgrounds isn´t read as such even today, though most of us are aware of the ”fakeness” of the Hollywood studio productions and do recognise a backlight background as such and lending the movie a historicity.
What impact has this on the documentary film? We have access to more documentary shots than ever before by internet. The perspective of telling the ”truth” is moved from the traditional media to the blogosphere. People will need assertions from the blogosphere to judge what they see in the news to decide upon ”truthness” of the message. And maybe likewise something revealed firstly in the blogsphere or the internet has to be confirmed by traditional media as to establish that it has happened in the real world. This is not affecting all yet, but I see a thread here which is accumulating greater impact all the time.

Vertov again
August 24, 2009, 14:34
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I thought I had embedded the Vertov clip from YouTube here. But I hadn´t so here it is. I really like this version with the music from the Alloy orchestra, the movie is edited in a way, that it  still feels very modern and the footage from the time is interesting. Our course literature has several articles that dwells upon this movie and it´s supposed objective to acccomplish a “international cinematic language”.
As it is, one could state that the Hollywood drama movie has moved to a level of international movie language, as it´s format is understood and imitated all around the world. Several TV-formats are also spread around the world and made over and culturally adapted by television companies for their home markets. Formats are being used from everywhere in the world in the TV-companies constant chase for new entertainment that could sell advertising time. The latest import from the “Otherness” were the japanese gameshows that have been widely both adapted and shown in their original format with contestants from home markets.
Or should we say, as the old Hollywood actors said in a earlier post I wrote, that the international language of silent movies was for ever lost with the introduction of sound movies. As sound is very much less understood over boundaries. Had they really, as they claim, come to develop a internationally understood pantomime?
Well, let´s see if I manage to introduce the clip here, you´ll have to go to YouTube for the 8 other clips that makes up the whole movie.

Back from vacation
August 24, 2009, 13:56
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So a summer course has it´s downfalls. As a working person you would want to  have some real vacation also. Now I´m back and will try to fulfill the courseplan.

The subject of documentary film has been along with me since the course started. At the Serlachius factory museum at Mänttä, Finland there was occasion to reflect upon the usage of documentary footage. The exhibition was obviously done with great effort taken to make it as vivid and living as possible. All kinds of multimedia enactments was present and scenery exhibition and scaled model buildings, presenting a variety of presentation modes.

Of course, as regarding any museum the question rises, who´s history is presented and what was left out and why. The Serlachius patronage seems to have been mildly progressive as the family had some ambitions on care and housing conditions. Good architectural designs was one favourite ambition on one of the patrons and Mänttä has several buildings with architectural value left. But naturally the patronage supported the white side in the interior war in Finland 1918, and had their clashes with the union at times.

The Serlachius foundation has much photos in archives and a good deal of filmfootage from the late thirties onwards, which could be material for scientific exploration, if someone already has done research, I´m not aware of it yet.

I watched some telvision in Finland and have to admit, that if I ever had a innocent eye watching documentaries now it is for ever lost as the teachings from literature and classes rings in the back of my head watching any documentary…