This paper is aimed at discussing two films that represent different approaches to documentary cinema. In particular, one should first focus on Chronicle of a Summer directed by Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch. Secondly, it is necessary to examine such a movie as Titicut Follies by Frederick Wiseman.
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Overall, they represent such genres as cinema vérité and direct cinema. In both cases, the film-makers attempt to depict the surrounding world in a realistic way without trying to conceal social problems or immoral behavior of other people. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that the advocates of cinema vérité such as Edgar Morin actively interact with people who are featured in the film.
In this way, the film-makers may prompt them to change their behavior. In contrast, the directors supporting direct cinema approach try to act as invisible observers who do not usually interact with people. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely.
One should mention that the film Chronicle of a Summer explores various issues that were affecting the France society in the early sixties. In particular, they focused on the experiences of the working class. More importantly, the directors involved people who were not professional actors.
These people were encouraged to answer a series of questions about their lives. One should note the participants represented different age groups, genders, and professions. More importantly, the directors later asked the subjects if the firm had been realistic enough. The main benefit of this approach is that it increases the authenticity of the documentary. This is one of the main aspects that should be taken into consideration. The techniques applied by Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch were later used by other film-makers.
Additionally, it is important to examine Titicut Follies directed by Frederick Wiseman as it is a great example of direct cinema. The representatives of this approach also lay stress on the need for realism. In particular, Frederick Wiseman and his colleagues examined the experiences of patients who stayed at Bridgewater State Hospital. One should keep in mind that these people were accused of crimes, but they were also declared to be insane.
The film-makers did not directly interact with these individuals. Nevertheless, they were able to show that these people were often mistreated by the personnel, especially the guards. However, there is a key difference that should be indicated. Overall, one can argue that the approach taken by Frederick Wiseman is more realistic.
One should keep in mind that people usually change their behavior when they understand that they are observed. This is one of the limitations that should be considered. This issue is particularly relevant if one speaks about Chronicle of a Summer. In contrast, Frederick Wiseman was able to avoid this pitfall. Nevertheless, by acting as a mere observer, a film-maker may not gain deep insights into the experiences of other people.
On the whole, this discussion indicates documentary films can be based on two different premises. In particular, the film-makers may choose to interact with people who are filmed. In contrast, they may decide to act as observers who do not try to change the course of events. Very often, these approaches should be combined. The documentary movies that have been examined show how these techniques can be applied. These are the main issues that can be singled out.