New Currents in Documentary

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IMA Number: 782.01 | 3 credits
Course Type: Analytical
Professor: Reiko Tahara
This class meets WED 6:10PM-9:40PM in HN 502
Full Course Description:

This course will examine the currents in independent documentary since the 90s up until now.  Rarely seen, cutting-edge films with social relevance will be pulled from many corners of the world such as Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, as well as North America and Europe. Through reading, viewing, discussing, and students’ research presentations, we will study each nation/culture’s socio-historical contexts, and the innovative approaches that the filmmakers chose to adopt to tell their “true” stories.  We will explore the issues surrounding the representation of others in the postcolonial and global eras, subjectivity in (re)recording/(re)chronicling media images as history, treatment of gender in various cultures, art-truth balance, blurred and inventive use of non-fictional  and fictional elements in documentary, etc, and hear from the filmmakers through interview articles or skype talks when available.  The main purpose is to cultivate a habit of dissecting films from both theoretical and practical angles through the eyes of media practitioners in order to understand the options, challenges, and responsibilities for today’s media creators. The main course reader is The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, and we will also read a variety of texts by Espinosa, Said, Trinh, Sartre, hooks, Bhabha, etc. Basic understanding of documentary history (1890s-1990s) is essential.  Prerequisite: History and Criticism of Documentary or equivalent (approval required).  Major assignments include a power point presentation and term project (either an academic essay, video essay, or a short video project).

Permissions: Cleared after advisement with IMA Program Assistant