Cultural theory and Documentary film

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…