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Modes of engagement in theatrical documentary

Fergusson, Annie (2006) Modes of engagement in theatrical documentary. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This research aims to chart four modes of engagement in post-verite documentary films, devoted to an exclusive examination of theatrical formats, that being those documentaries which are originally intended for a cinema audience. As these theatrical documentaries provide a means for spectators to see through the cinema screen and into the real world, it is important to understand how this 'seeing through' is constructed by the documentary production itself. This thesis acknowledges that the 'learning' of documentary stories and subjects has broadened for the global audience of today. After exploring various separate critiques of documentary voice theory, the definition of documentary and film semiotics, I have devised eight paradigms for creating this 'learning' or 'documentary consciousness' in these theatrical or cinema documentaries. I have explored how these eight paradigms can be observed to function in four different modes. These modes contribute to an evolving understanding of viewer comprehension; that thing called documentary consciousness. This is demonstrated through the audio-visual appendix of clips taken from the proto-typical theatrical documentaries I have chosen to analyse, which are:

'Bowling For Columbine' by Michael Moore (2003), which is illustrative of what I have dubbed the 'Outcome Mode';

'Etre et Avoir' ('To Be And To Have') by Nicholas Philibert (2004), which exemplifies what I call the 'Participant Mode';

'My Architect' by Nathaniel Kahn (2005), an example of the 'Journey Mode';

'Baraka' by Magidson Films (1996), a model of the 'Mandala Mode'.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16415
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Romano, Angela& Bromley, Michael
Keywords: theatrical documentary, cinema documentary, documentary voice, definition of documentary consciousness, film semiotics, modes of engagement, spectator comprehension, ‘Bowling for Columbine’, ‘Etre et Avoir’ (‘To Be and To Have’), ‘My Architect’, ‘Baraka’
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Disciplines > Film & Television
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Annie Fergusson
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 14:03
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:47

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