Voice-Over Narration as an Active Agent in Film

December 9, 2009

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I wrote this essay for my MHIS 429 Topics in Film/Video course this semester at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Special thanks to Sarah Wichlacz for her essay titled, “Issues of Narration: Voice-Over in Film” which definitely helped me in the writing of my own essay. You can see her very well written piece at http://sarahwichlacz.com/?p=74

– FlashAddict

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Voice-Over Narration as an Active Agent in Film

The use of voice-over narration can and has been used in film to help convey greater depth and meaning to the audience. Whereas on the one hand, there are some who see it as a crutch when the director or writer is unable to move along the storyline effectively within a given scene; yet on the other however, when it is used effectively, voice-over narration can be inserted as an active agent to help provide greater impact and understanding to the audience in a way that a complex actor’s performance or scenery cannot convey. It is within this context that this essay will explore individual examples of voice-over narration from select films in which both sides of the issue will be explored; by not simply analyzing each voice-over narration example as either good or bad, but looking deeper at how the context and overall delivery affect the films, scenes and actors within.

To begin with, a proper definition of voice-over narration in film must be established, “Narration, or voice-over, is used in both documentary and fiction. It may be used to deliver information, provide the point of view of an unseen character, or allow an onscreen character to comment on the action.”(Ascher and Pincus 493) Put more simply, “A narrative text is a text in which an agent relates (‘tells’) a story in a particular medium, such as language, imagery, sound, buildings, or a combination thereof.” (Bal 5) By using this standard, multiple methods of providing voice-over narration in film can be utilized to help tell their respective stories, “In documentary filmmaking some of the key stylistic questions relate to how much the filmmaker attempts to control or interact with the subjects, and to the way information is conveyed in the movie.” (Ascher and Pincus 332)

The style adopted by U.K. documentarians such as John Grierson in the 1930s and 1940s is a kind of hybrid that can involve staged events and real people (non-actors)…Many of these films use a ‘voice of God’ narration-the authoritative male voice that provides factual information and often spells out the message intended for the viewer to take from the film. (Ascher and Pincus 333)

On the other side of the spectrum, Ascher & Pincus further explain:

Cinema vérité (also called just vérité or direct cinema) films attempt to spontaneously react to events and capture life as it is lived…Many of these films use no narration or interviews and attempt to minimize the sense that the material has been influenced or interpreted by the filmmaker. (Ascher and Pincus 333)

Within this context, one of the most notable examples of the use of voice-over narration can be seen in the opening of the film, Citizen Kane (1941), “The film’s plot sets another purveyor of knowledge, the ‘News on the March’ short. We’ve already seen the crucial functions of the newsreel in introducing us both to Kane’s story and to its plot construction, with the newsreel’s sections previewing the parts of the film as a whole.” (Bordwell and Thompson 105) In essence, this scene of paramount importance was purposely written by Orson Welles in order to allow the principal characters follow-up with further details later on in the film in their own flashback narrations.

The reinforcement of the scenes, characters and events detailed in this brief montage showcasing Kane’s life over the span of only a few minutes is accentuated, as referenced earlier by Ascher and Pincus, via the deep authoritative voice in which the booming male narrator speaks, which was quite representative on the actual newsreel footage of the era. In other words, by creating a fictionalized representation of a factually based newsreel within a film and having a similar sounding voice actor provide the narration within it, Welles provided the audience with further reinforcement of the importance of Charles Foster Kane on a global scale, in which he truly was within his own Xanadu.

Further evidence of life imitating art and vice versa comes from the voice-over narration within the film, Little Children (2006) which featured the deep resonating male voice of Will Lyman as the film’s narrator. Lyman’s voice was already recognizable, even his face wasn’t, for the 125 episodes of the PBS documentary television show Frontline (1982-2009) that he has narrated. With such various titles as, A Death in Tehran (2009), Breaking the Bank (2009), and Black Money (2009), Lyman has narrated multiple episodes for the series, while remaining unseen to the audience, in which investigative journalists scour the globe looking for corruption, abuse of power and instances of government, humanitarian and ecological tragedies.

To that end, Little Children (2006) director Todd Field must have realized the impact that Lyman’s voice would have on the film’s audience as an implied and trusted broker of knowledge and wisdom. “In the history of the documentary, this voice has been for the most part that of the male, and its power resides in the possession of knowledge and in the privileged, unquestioned activity of interpretation.” (Doane 369)

One scene of particular note from the film is where the character of the husband, Richard Pierce, shows the length to which he will go in order to satiate his obsession. The scene opens up with him in his work office as his secretary heads home for the night and now suddenly alone, Richard decides to indulge his favorite pastime of late, masturbating to pictures of the internet sensation that is Slutty Kay. In comes the booming, authoritative and faceless voice of narrator Will Lyman, as the audience begins to realize the level of Richard’s obsession at not being able to truly connect with her.

Lately, Slutty Kay had become a problem. He thought about her far too often and spent hours studying the thousands of photographs available to him…Though as close as Richard sometimes felt to Slutty Kay, as much as he believed that he knew her, he could never get past the uncomfortable fact she existed for him solely as a digital image. The panties were an attempt to solve this problem, maybe a sniff or two would hurry things along so he could get back downstairs to his real life, where his wife was waiting for him; her impatience increasing by the minute…(Little Children)

To that end, the scene changes to his home office as he now tries to put on her soiled panties over his head in order to accentuate the experience, as the frame changes yet again to show Richard’s wife coming upstairs as Lyman explains her growing impatience and finds him masturbating while breathing deeply into the soiled panties. Lyman’s matter of fact and monotonous voice-over breathes, for lack of a better term, immense irony into the scene and provides a very functional backdrop in order to place such an absurd setting as a woman walking into her husband’s office and finding him masturbating to a Polaroid of a naked woman while gasping into a pair of soiled woman’s panties. “The different components of the cinematic narrator as diagramed usually work in consort, but sometimes the implied author creates an ironic tension between two of them.” (Chatman 484)

An additional aspect of voice-over narration is when the director or creative vision behind the film as a whole provides the narration themselves. Take for instance the case from the film, A River Runs Through It (1992), in which director Robert Redford took on the persona of the book’s original author, Norman MacLean, and provided the film’s flashback voice-overs.

…films often create the sense of character-narration so strongly that one accepts the voice-over narrator as if he of she were the mouthpiece of the image-maker either for the whole film or for the duration of his or her embedded story. We put our faith in the voice not created but as creator. (Kozloff 45)

After auditioning several different prominent voice-over actors, Redford was not happy with any of the takes and as a result, he decided to try it out himself. Given Redford’s long standing stature within the film industry and recognizable voice, what followed was that he was able to further personify the essence of what the author and main character experienced while growing up in small-town Montana, the trials he went through with his younger brother Paul and how the quiet and serene beauty of glacier fed streams full of trout could help heal the soul. This was especially evident in the final scene of the film in which the viewer sees what is now an elderly and frail looking Norman MacLean fishing the river alone, with Redford’s voice-over providing the full meaning as Paul reflects on his life.

Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them.  Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters. (A River Runs Through It)

The next logical focus to explore is whether or not to use voice-over narration at all and how the format is different from written media for example, “Unlike in literature, in film the distinction between telling a story through verbal narration and showing it on the screen through images and action is not so easily discountable.” (Kozloff 13) A case in point for this argument comes from the multiple versions of the film, Blade Runner (1982), in which it has gone from its original theatrical release to being re-edited seven times to its most recent ‘Final Cut’. The most obvious change that was made from the original film was the removal of Deckard’s voice-over and while this had already been removed from an earlier 1992 ‘Director’s Cut,’ this final version of the film was also the only version that director Ridley Scott had complete artistic control over.

The climactic scene of the film in which the removal of the voice-over warranted greatest scrutiny was the scene near the end of the film, where on the original inception of Deckard’s monotonous voice-over was further evidence, although somewhat ambiguous, of him being a replicant (a humanoid looking robot who cannot show or feel emotion), from a viewer’s perspective, the use of the voice-over caused more controversy than it was worth according to prolific filmmaker, Frank Darabont:

There’s one area where I thought the voice-over was so clunky; it landed with such a hollow thud, was the ‘Tears in Rain.’ I remember when I first saw the movie, I’m in the theatre and I am so drawn in by what Rutger Hauer is doing and I am so drawn in by what the theme of the movie has brought us to, this magnificent moment where he is letting go of life…‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe, all these moments will be lost, in time, like Tears in Rain. Time to die.’

And right as I am just…it’s like having sex and someone dumps cold water on you. Right at that moment where I am at my most emotional crescendo as a viewer, here comes this thudding, dunderheaded voice-over, ‘I don’t know why he saved my life, maybe in those last moments, he loved life more than he ever had before.’ Yes, I know that, thank you. Thank you for kicking this beautiful, delicate, emotional note that we were achieving right in the nuts. (Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner)

Conversely, in the subsequent versions of the film in which Deckard’s monologue has been removed, greater emphasis has been placed on Rutger Hauer’s performance of Roy when he releases the dove as he dies and it flies up to the dark and stormy clouds above. Layered over all of this is the minimalist orchestration by the film’s composer, Vangelis and the slightest of crescendo booming sound as Deckard slowly closes his eyes and deeply inhales as he bears witness to his former foe’s final testimony; all of which is realized without the use of the voice-over.

At the end of the shooting cycle and on the bottom of the cutting room floor, directors, editors and screenplay writers have debated the merits of inserting or removing voice-over narration in film for decades now. In some instances, overall theme, plot and character development or simply personal taste can dictate whether or not to use voice-overs to help provide the audience with a greater understanding of what they are seeing on the screen. To that end however, and when it is an active agent in the storytelling process and manufactured to cater to the targeted audience in subtle and imperceptible ways, then voice-over narration can help bridge the gap between what can and cannot be shown on film. But if it is used in a contrived and convoluted manner, then the opposite can occur and further alienate the audience from being able to fully appreciate the level of understanding that the filmmakers are trying to achieve.

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Works Cited

A River Runs Through It. Dir. Robert Redford. Allied Filmmakers, 1992

Ascher, Steven, and Pincus, Edward. The Filmmaker’s Handbook. New York: PLUME, 2007

Bal, Mieke. Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985.

Bordwell, David, and Thompson, Kirstin. FILM ART: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen, eds. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Chatman, Seymour. “The Cinematic Narrator.” Braudy and Cohen, 473-86.

Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner. Dir. Charles de Lauzirika, Frank Darabont, 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_nsSxblpoI

Doane, Mary Ann. The Voice in the Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980

Kozloff, Barbara. Invisible Storytellers: Voice-Over Narration in American Fiction Film. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

Little Children. Dir. Todd Field. New Line Cinema, Bona Fide Productions, Standard Film Company, 2006.

Wichlacz, Sarah. 27 May 2006. Issues of Narration: Voice-Over Film. http://sarahwichlacz.com/?p=74


N.S. woman admits she strangled daughter to keep boyfriend

January 30, 2009

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This is one of the most tragic stories I have ever read…
– FlashAddict

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‘Mommy, don’t’: girl’s last words revealed as Penny Boudreau sentenced

Last Updated: Friday, January 30, 2009 | 12:58 PM AT

Penny Boudreau sobbed as she apologized in court Friday. She was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 20 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Penny Boudreau sobbed as she apologized in court Friday. She was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 20 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
(CBC)

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A woman from Bridgewater, N.S., has been handed a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 20 years for strangling her only child after her boyfriend gave her an ultimatum.

Penny Boudreau, 34, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the death of 12-year-old Karissa Boudreau.

The girl’s frozen body was found on the outskirts of Bridgewater on Feb. 9, 2008, about two weeks after her mother reported her missing.

Boudreau, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, told the court, “I’m sorry.”

When asked about the apology, Paul Boudreau, Karissa’s father, said bluntly: “Crocodile tears.”

“Justice has been served,” he added.

Justice Margaret Stewart, who handed down the sentence at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, said Boudreau can no longer call herself mother.

Karissa’s relatives sobbed loudly as Crown attorney Paul Scovil read out the grim details of the girl’s final moments in an agreed statement of facts.

The court heard that Boudreau’s boyfriend, Vernon Macumber, told her she had to choose between him and her daughter if she wanted to save their relationship.

Carried body to river

It was dark and snowy on Jan. 27, 2008, when Boudreau drove the girl to a remote spot on William Hebb Road in Hebbville, near Bridgewater.

They got out of the car and argued. Boudreau tackled her daughter, knelt on her chest and strangled her with a length of twine.

Boudreau could feel the girl’s hands digging into the ground as she struggled.

Karissa’s last words were, “Mommy, don’t.”

Boudreau then put the body in the car and threw away the twine in a coffee cup.

She drove to a spot along the LaHave River, and as she dragged the body, pulled down Karissa’s pants to give the impression the girl had been sexually assaulted. She then rolled the body down an embankment.

Karissa Boudreau, 12, was a Grade 6 student at Bridgewater Elementary School.
Karissa Boudreau, 12, was a Grade 6 student at Bridgewater Elementary School.
(Bridgewater police)

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Boudreau later tossed several pieces of Karissa’s clothing in the garbage can at the local swimming pool.

When she got home, she told police her daughter had run away. She also called friends and teachers to spread the story.

Paul Boudreau is still trying to comprehend what happened. Karissa was living with him at one point but moved to Bridgewater to be with her mother.

“I can’t call it anything other than a senseless act,” said Boudreau, adding his ex-girlfriend had options.

“Had I known this was going to happen I would have never let her go back. But what parent is going to say, ‘No, you can’t go back and see your mother,'” he said.

Penny Boudreau was charged with first-degree murder in June 2008. At the time, police said they believed Karissa knew her killer.

Scovil said he agreed to the lesser charge of second-degree murder to give the family some closure and avoid a trial.

Murder carries an automatic life sentence. Both the Crown and defence recommended parole eligibility after 20 years.

“All in all, it was the right thing to do,” Scovil said.

As for Macumber, Scovil said there was no evidence he wanted his girlfriend to kill her daughter. He said Boudreau made it clear that she was solely responsible.

“We suspected very strongly that he must have had an idea. But there was no evidence to suggest that he either had concrete evidence or assisted in any way,” Scovil said.

Undercover police investigation

The grim truth of what happened to the girl came out as a result of an undercover police investigation.

Boudreau gave the details to officers posing as organized crime bosses, who said they could help her destroy evidence held by police.

Karissa’s story has gripped the small Nova Scotia community ever since her mother made a tearful plea at a news conference for her daughter’s safe return.

Boudreau said they had had a fight in the parking lot of a grocery store, and when she came back to the car, Karissa was gone.

Several searches of the area turned up no sign of the young girl.

Two weeks later, a passerby discovered Karissa’s frozen body on the bank of the LaHave River.

Paul Boudreau said he had suspicions about his ex-girlfriend from the moment Karissa was reported missing.

“Any parent knows their child, and when a child does something way out of character, you know from Day 1 it’s not true,” he said.

Penny Boudreau can apply for early parole after 15 years under the faint-hope clause.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2009/01/30/ns-karissa-guilty.html


Commentary: Obama summons ghosts of American history

January 21, 2009

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Very eloquent piece that I came across on CNN.com – worth taking the time to read over…
– FlashAddict

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By Paul Begala
CNN Contributor

Editor’s note: Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House.

Paul Begala says Obama embodies the American dream, and our fate is now tied to his fate.

Paul Begala says Obama embodies the American dream, and our fate is now tied to his fate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sometimes pictures tell a story better than words. On Inauguration Day, we saw Barack Obama, strong and certain, striding purposefully into the presidency.

And we saw Dick Cheney, once one of the most powerful people on Earth, reduced to being wheeled out of the White House.

Of course, we all wish good health for the former vice president, but the contrasting images were stark.

Barack Obama’s inaugural address was a bracing, brave break with the past.

“On this day,” he said, “we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.” He sternly scolded the “greed and irresponsibility” of our current era, and called for “action, bold and swift.”

Take that, George W. Bush, whose false promises and worn-out dogmas have turned so much of the nation against him.

Barack Obama’s story is unique in its particulars, but it is universal in its appeal. One grandfather a Kenyan goat herder who opposed colonial rule, the other a Kansas farm boy who joined Patton’s army to fight the Nazis.

His parents’ marriage was illegal in 16 states, and his mother struggled, turning to food stamps to keep body and soul together, and waking young Barry up at 4:30 in the morning to nourish his brain.

He understands and appreciates the American Dream because he is its living embodiment. His story is our story. And now his fate and ours are inextricably intertwined.

As a speechwriter, I know you say a lot in the quotations you choose. President Barack Obama chose two and he chose wisely. First, St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in which he exhorts the people of Corinth to, in effect, grow up.

“When I was a child,” Paul wrote, “I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. But when I became a man I put aside childish things.”

The new president used that ancient letter to deliver a badly needed message after eight years of anything goes: Put your big-boy pants on, America.

The president closed by quoting the words from Tom Paine that Gen. Washington ordered read aloud at Valley Forge. “Let it be told to the future world,” Washington said, “that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive… that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

The quote shows Obama’s belief in unflinching courage, unblinking realism and an unrelenting faith that by coming together we Americans can bend history to our will.

Of course, even as Washington words echoed, other ghosts of American history were milling about. Abe Lincoln prowled the Mall. FDR, his ever-present cigarette holder clenched in his smiling teeth, cheered zestily. Dr. King called out from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and John F. Kennedy called back to him from the steps of the Capitol.

When Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, President Kennedy watched it on TV from the White House. As King concluded, Kennedy said, “He’s good. He’s damn good.” I like to think that as Barack Obama concluded his inaugural address, Dr. King turned to President Kennedy and said, “This young man’s pretty damn good, too.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/21/begala.obama/index.html


Video Art – Emily Carr

January 13, 2009

Sombrio – Paul Manly

Sombrio is a 60 minute documentary about a community of squatters and surfers who lived on a beach on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island BC. The documentary follows the residents over a two year period leading up to their eviction and follows up four years later.
http://manlymedia.com/documentaries/sombrio

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Cremaster (The Order) – Matthew Barney


– considers his videos not art but sculptures


Reading the Screen – class notes and film clips

October 17, 2008

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance – Trailer

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance – clip

In-class discussion:

mother earth – many women were interviewed – native culture had women in powerful positions in the tribe as opposed to european cultures

remarkable part of this film showed the canadian military in a negative light – where is the federal government in all of this crisis?
point of view is taken from the natives – she stayed with her people and moved with them the entire time – the lens was always from the mohawk perspective

talking heads and voice overs / staged or scripted?

subject-centred arguments / euphemematic – you get a lot more power of suggestion and widespread opinion

how did the film maker try to deal with euro-centric points of view?
– she did show both sides of view about the bridge
– interviewed the white male doctor who’s first reaction was anger, but who later changed his POV
– mayor of Oka is presented as cowardly and racist vs. the government we see in the native band
– showed the graveyard in the pines looking out at the golf course – camera pulled back and showed the native perspective of white encroachment

http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/film_exhibitions.php?id=8390

My Film Critique and Response:

I had the chance to view the film, “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance” over the weekend seeing as I had missed last week’s screening class. I have to say that I found the film to be a very interesting and engaging piece of film making as well as being a good social commentary on the Oka Crisis as a whole. It succeeded in bringing into perspective the plight of the Mohawk people over the past 270 years in their dealings with White Canadians, the Church in particular and how they had been cheated out of their land. Particular emphasis was placed on the Surete du Quebec and the Mayor of Oka as well who  should have rightfully have had an independent inquiry into their strong arm reactions before, during and after the crisis.

Where I do find fault however is in the film maker’s depiction of the Canadian Army. For better or for worse, I believe that the Federal Government made the correct decision to send the Canadian Army to secure the perimeter of the area and to allow both the Mohawks and Surete du Quebec to fall back to pre-established positions. As outsiders to the situation and not having faced the possibility of losing their land or having watched one of their comrades killed in the opening assault, I thought that they showed great restraint at the handling of the situation as a whole (other then the one incident when one of the Mohawks was beaten one night). As far as the comments made by some of the Mohawk warriors laughing at the sight of the soldiers installing barbed wire in the water, imagine being one of the Canadian Army officers trying to keep your men motivated and engaged during what was obviously a very stressful and trying situation. One of the basic tenants of any army is the fact that soldiers need to be constantly tested and kept active. Many an army officer has made his platoon of soldiers dig trenches one day to only cover them all up the very next day.

Another major flaw that I saw in the film was in the handling of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s response to the crisis. As the ultimate Commander in Chief of the Canadian Army forces sent in to contain the situation, he is only seen in one brief clip complaining, “We will not be dictated by armed people, some of whom aren’t even Canadian.” The sentiment of that clip was taken completely out of context, and is shown as to refer to Mulroney’s belief that the Mohawks were not in fact Canadian citizens. The truth of the matter however, given the fact that I grew up during the crisis, is that Mulroney was in fact referring to American Mohawk warriors who had come across the border to join their Canadian tribesmen and were making their own demands as well. Which brings up my earlier point about the barbed wire in the lake; while the chances of weapons being delivered by boat was low, the goal of the drill was to stop the very remote possibility of weapons and other supplies from being delivered to the Treatment Centre over the lake, and also as a means to keep their soldiers active and engaged.

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DOCUMENTARY – these people, places do in fact exist and the viewer accepts the information on the basis of trust

MOCKUMENTARY – fake people, fake story line yet made to look legitimate

Films INSPIRED by a true story!!!

Categorical Documentary – to convey information about the world to audiences

Rhetorical Documentary – to present a persuasive argument, to persuade the audience to adopt an opinion about the subject and to act on that opinion

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compilation – images from archival footage
interviews – talking heads
direct cinema – cinema verite
nature
portrait
synthetic – uses several options
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VIEWER CENTERED ARGUMENT documentary

SOLUTION BASED documentary

“The River” – rhetorical film made in 1938 by the US Federal government as part of The New Deal by FDR to create jobs during the Depression
– the “problem of the land” – narrator speaks poetically rather then lecturing – emotional music to pull at your heart strings
– lot of close ups – intimate camera to get you close to the land

PROGRESS
– yankee doodle dandee music showing logging camps and rivers
– industry – power – might of the country
– reminds me of Soviet propaganda films
– wheat / cotton being loaded onto ships

DANGER
– new scene and new cringing music piece showing clear-cut forests
– “And sent it down the river…”
– water comes downhill and causes floods due to the lack of forests to absorb it
– dum dum dum dum dum = drip drip drip drip drip = raging floods now
– narrator’s voice is now booming to emphasize the poetry of his words
– air raid siren and fog horns go off – RIVER RISING!!!
– men, food, coast guard, medicine needed in every town up and down the rivers all over the country
– lists off the years that the major rivers flooded over their banks

THIN BLUE LINE – by Errol Morris

– 8 years after the murder, Errol Morris – convicted man ended up being freed – Randal Adams
– similar to Truman Capote’s, “In Cold Blood” although they were guilty then
– interview subjects look directly into the camera – up to the audience to decide if they are telling the truth or not
– does reanactments with actors which are beautifully shot (unlike TV ones)
– no old film footage, but uses old photographs, maps, graphs…
– no direct cinema, interviews only
– WHAT IS THE TRUTH HERE?
– audience is always watching and asked to participate
– uses an old feature film which is ridiculous but it works
– unconventional film score – looking for the truth – doesn’t relent

Dallas Law Enforcement interview
– woman officer was there when her partner was shot
– beautiful score -repeating notes of multiple violins and basses
– she is placed right in front of the police car – silhouetted and placed within the headlights
– she couldn’t remember the license plate number
– HC…HC…HC…HC
– blue vega with HC in the plate
– “you expect they would know more then they do” – police officer witness didn’t follow procedure
– speculation = she was sitting in the car drinking her milk shake – re-enactment of her throwing it out the window
– showed forensic diagram showing where the milkshake landed on the ground
– swinging watch – hypnotized her but she couldn’t remember any details but she remember a hit and run plate from earlier in the night

Large woman who was the defense attorney
– Mrs. Miller – THAT’S THE MAN – I SAW THE GUN STICKING OUT OF THE CAR!!!!!
– she’s the one who got him convicted – butt ugly woman with bad blond hair
– jesus she sounds like a dumb shit or at least somewhat mentally retarded
– “Too nosey to know what’s going on”
– by her own admission it was dark within the car, so how could she have gotten such a good look at him?
– “She’s a ho”

LONELY BOY – movie about Paul Anka