Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Successful completion of Part 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 1 x 3 hour Lecture/Viewing per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1 (1500 Words)  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2 (1500 Words)  For information on due dates for submission of assessed work, please refer to the departmental web pages at   50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit: Essay 1 (1500 Words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit: Essay 2 (1500 Words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

Typically, upon completion of this module a student will be able:

To demonstrate an intelligent awareness of debates about documentary film and documentary film movements between 1920 and 1970.
To critically evaluate models of documentary theory.
To critically apply models of documentary theory to the texts under consideration.
To show an analytical understanding of a range of filmic texts.


The aims of this module are to introduce students to the critical discourse relating to documentary film analysis and to consider how documentary film developed during the period under consideration as a mode of cultural expression an political propaganda. The module also aims to study the ways in which technological developments during the period influenced the pro-filmic and changed the nature of documentary film.


Issues of historiography and documentary theory
Documentary Pioneers I: Flaherty
Documentary Pioneers II: Vertov
The British Movement I: Grierson
The British Movement II: Jennings
Documentary as Observer I: Free Cinema
Documentary as Observer II: Direct Cinema and Cinema Verite
Documentary on Television
Documentary in the 70's and 80's
Future of Documentary

Reading List

Essential Reading
Aitken, Ian (ed.) (1998) The Documentary Film Movement: an anthology Edinburgh University Press Primo search Barnouw, Eric (1993) Documentary: a history of the non-fiction film OUP Primo search Gillespie, David (2000) Early Soviet Cinema: innovation, ideology and propaganda Wallflower Primo search Macdonald, Kevin, & Cousins, Mark (1996) Imagining Reality: the Faber book of documentary Faber Primo search Nicholls, Bill (1991) Representing Reality: issues and concepts in documentary Indiana University Press Primo search Renov, Michael (1993) Theorizing Documentary Routledge Primo search Winston, Brian (1995) Claiming the Real: the documentary film revisited BFI Primo search

Cavalcanti, Alberto Coalface Primo search Dziga Vertov Man with a Movie Camera Primo search Elton + Anstey Housing Problems Primo search Humphrey Jennings Silent Village and Fires Were Started; Listen to Britain Primo search John Grierson Night Mail; Drifters; Primo search Karel Reisz We are the Lambeth Boys Primo search Lindsay Anderson Every Day Except Christmas, O! Dreamland Primo search Riefenstahl, L Triumph of the Will Primo search Robert Flaherty Nanook of the North and Man of Aran Primo search Watkins The War Game Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6