Television journalists and programme makers believe the reason for this is that newspapers feel threatened by the investigative power of television and see the docudrama as a weak point. Documentarists roamed the world in an attempt to record on films as much of the diversity of customs and habits only ethnographers had until then approached, an anthropological dimension that still runs through many productions from drama documentarists.
John Caughie, in Television Drama. Realism, Modernism, and British Culture offers a diachronic approach of the genre that encompasses its origins and the influence of the British tradition of the documentary; seminal figures like John Grierson, the father figure of the British documentary, and John Reith, the founder of the BBC, occupy prominent places in the debate on the promotion of hybrid forms of representation. As the pioneer of the British documentary tradition, John Grierson was highly critical of the tendency to lend filmic technique to escapist fantasies.
In Grierson on Documentary he is adamant about the need for documentarists to focus on social realities in Britain. In Grierson on Documentary , John Grierson feels the need to pinpoint filmic technique as being the cause of inevitable hybrid productions and expands on how they impact the message filmmakers want to convey. Another recent approach of this issue is afforded by John Izod, R. About the criteria to assess the documentary value of a film, the authors insist on the veracity of the allegations and on the relevance of the points put forward rather than on the degree of artificiality.
Ever since the early years of cinema, re-enactment and the need to stage events or employ special effects have often been a necessity. Because of the lack of mobility that would not allow for the capture of the profilmic, the early filmmakers were forced to ask professional actors or the protagonists of the events to perform the scenes they had witnessed. Once again the interwar years provided illuminating examples of the staging of the real.
For Derek Paget, in True Stories? The purpose of re-enactment is not, and was not at the time, to deceive in any way but to make it possible for viewers to catch a glimpse of the Zeitgeist , or spirit of the time, by allowing the camera to capture a simulacrum of actuality. Since, in those days, hybridity, under all its forms, could not be bypassed, John Grierson did not object to it.
In , under the title The March of Time, Henry Luce, the editor of Time Magazine, introduced the twenty-minute filmic version of his famous magazine in several theatre houses across the USA. Each weekly batch covered the topical issues of the time and tapped into various genres, whether documentary, journalism or reportage. Even though the main purpose of this undertaking was the information of cinema-goers, it hinged on re-enactments: the protagonists of the events or professional actors were asked to stage what had happened or what had been witnessed by others. The series was intended by Larsen to stimulate magazine circulation.
But such was not always the case. It can see a thousand things in a thousand places at different times, and the cunning cutter can string them together for a review of the world. From her point of view, Went the Day Well? The problem then became one of striking proper balance between the factual elements of a film and its narrative.
He analyses the use of artificiality in documentaries. From his point of view, though the problem was raised a long time ago, it has never been totally solved. John Corner is one of them. In The Art of Record. A Critical Introduction to Documentary he provides an insightful view into the various types of documentaries and the characteristic elements of each. Hybrid forms are rightfully devoted entire sections.
These filmmakers disregard the widely shared injunction that documentary should not be tainted with fiction.
They endow their work with the aesthetic dimension required to reach the widest possible audience. He concedes that though hybridity may generate confusion, the mixing of different modes was a key factor in achieving a powerful popular impact on viewers and in offering demanding issues a spellbinding treatment.
One of the strengths of these fiction-films is undoubtedly their referentiality. Fact-Fiction on Film and TV. The innovative approach of topical issues, adopted by filmmakers in the s, challenged the dominant conventions which, until then, had ruled filmic representations.
John Corner insists on one of the main appeals of this type of television image which was the credit it had among viewers, due to its referentiality and to the need filmmakers felt to strive for accuracy and relevance. Fact-Fiction on Film and TV by Alan Rosenthal, defines this reflexive dimension as one of the salient elements of an ambitious, politically committed television which meant to promote the education of citizens.
Both the public and the private sectors set up their own departments in charge of investigating the mixing of genres. Drama-documentary, Dossier 19 was meant as a special publication, commissioned by the British Film Institute, and it was designed to focus on the hybridisation of the genres that dealt with factuality. The research conducted by Andrew Goodwin and John Kerr is extensively documented, which makes their book a reliable source for inquirers into the promotion of information through fiction. It represents the first attempt at trying to exhaustively address docudrama from analytical, historical and descriptive points of view.
Docudrama is envisaged by the author within the North American audiovisual landscape. It is seen as the final stage of a long process, from to , and it takes into account the initiatives by many networks to commission their own productions in the context of a highly competitive film industry and the birth of payable cable TV. Radio news was superseded by TV news which became the main source of information for the public.
They followed in the footsteps of the dramatized wartime documentaries which had proselytized about the war effort and the need to remain united in the face of adversity. Series and one-off TV fiction films were designed to document endemic social diseases. This comprehensive approach, which takes into account not only the technical but also the political dimension associated with the new media, is the one chosen by George W.
Brandt for his collection of essays entitled British Television Drama in the s. The authors offer readers an overview of how, from the s onwards, TV programmes were affected by the evolution of technologies and by pressures from the governments of the time to urge the public sector to compete with the private sector for audience ratings. In The Evolution of Drama , Irene Shubik praises docudrama as a genre thanks to which, in those days, television channels managed to ensure loyalty around politically committed programmes.
Thanks to this format, viewers were attracted towards apparently unglamorous issues like abortion, poverty or homelessness. The debates they generated in the population were meant to reverberate among parliamentary circles so as to generate positive social change. Directed by Gilchrist Calder, it was a carefully researched piece about a home for delinquent children which proved that docudrama was particularly suited to a fictional approach of weighty matters on television.
Irene Shubik insists on the innovative nature of films which were scripted by playwrights who wrote with the idiosyncrasies of TV in mind, such as new filmic equipments and techniques, filming in open-air locations, against true-life backgrounds, sometimes even amongst ordinary people. Paget traces this contentious relationship back to The War Game by Peter Watkins, which, on the eve of the broadcast, was subjected to a ban from the authorities.
At a certain point, Mamoulian wanted the audience to hear one character singing at the same time as another prays; according to the director, "They said we couldn't record the two things—the song and the prayer—on one mike and one channel. In , the Photokinema sound-on-disc system developed by Orlando Kellum was employed to add synchronized sound sequences to D. Like many postwar children, Malou's daughter searches for a past she herself never experienced. It was in these deviations from Hollywood's ostensibly invisible style that melo- drama critics located critiques — challenges to the status quo that narrative or dialogue was unable to contain or express. In the opinion of many film historians and aficionados, both at the time and subsequently, silent film had reached an aesthetic peak by the late s and the early years of sound cinema delivered little that was comparable to the best of the silents. Acutely aware of the labor of mourning and of his own investment in it, Syberberg closes his less melancholic Winifred Wagner with: "This film is part of Hans-Jurgen Syberberg's Trauerarbeit. With Hollywood's wholesale adoption of the talkies, the competition between the two fundamental approaches to sound-film production was soon resolved.
As a consequence, the following year, Ken Loach took extreme precautions against censorship. Worried about the potential threat to his work, Loach pretended, just hours before the release of Radio Times, the weekly magazine, that Cathy Come Home was a love story while actually it was a fierce indictment of housing and family affairs policies.
The principal asset of this type of production was the credence they would lend to docudrama. Paradoxically, they also undermined the political dimension of the genre: while originally scathing in their attacks on domestic affairs, docudramas gradually lost impertinence by being critical of politics in foreign countries. Filmmakers, deeply moved by the will to redress the wrongdoings of justice, have resorted to docudrama on account of its capacity to gather record audiences and to succeed in informing them and swaying their point of view.
We do not have trial by television here. Lance Pettitt dedicates several pages to it in Screening Ireland: Film and Television Representation, a book which spans the period from the beginning of the cinematographic representations of the conflict in Northern Ireland to the end of twentieth century. A whole chapter is devoted to television and in particular to docudrama.
His emphasis is on how these made-for-television films managed to raise public awareness about the situation at different stages in the history of the conflict. His analysis of these programmes — whether they originated from the public or the private sector, whether they resulted from in-house commissions or externalization, from inside or outside Northern Ireland — gives the reader an insight into the political motives behind the production of committed programmes.
Yet, the pages Lance Pettitt devotes to the conflict in Northern Ireland help situate these productions within the wider context of independence and the need felt by the activists to maintain pressure on the authorities for the advancement of their cause. The credentials of this type of production rely on the collection of all the information available, whether official documents, testimonies or newspaper clippings.
Having failed to convey the reality of homelessness through radio documentaries, Jeremy Sandford, the scriptwriter of Cathy Come Home , turned to TV documentary drama. Retrospectively, this choice proved very wise, since its impact was stronger than if it had been a regular documentary. This article represented an opportunity for the author to explore the reasons behind the doubts and suspicions that surrounded the genre in its first televised productions. Forrest ed. Fassbinder Oxford: Blackwell, , Thomas Elsaesser, "Working on the Margins," T. Elsaesser ed. Froelich eds. Thomas Elsaesser, "German Cinema in the s", in T.
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Rheuban, ed. Thomas Elsaesser, " Cinema in the Service of Television?
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Krenn, A. Loacker eds. Eisenschitz, M. Jung, W. Schatzberg eds. Saur Verlag, Cargnelli and M. Omasta, Schatten.
Exil Vienna: PVS, Thomas Elsaesser, "La Ufa," G. Spagnoletti ed , Schermi Germanici Venezia: Marsilio, Muscio ed. Thomas Elsaesser, "Lulu und der Stromableser," B. Riff, G. Schlemmer, E. Wiesmayr eds. Bock, C. Lenssen eds. Joe May Munich: text und kritik, Dyer, G. Vincendeau eds. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN Jordan synthesizes scholarship on women's involvement in credit networks in anrient and medieval European as well as modern non-European developing economies, taking the two as comparable.
He divides his treatment into three roughly period-based sections.
First he considers consumer credit networks and patterns of pawning among medieval women, with a glance back toward andent models. He then focuses on the strong evidence of women's involvement in large-scale productive lending , ascribing the conservative charader of women's lending to their relatively precarious economic status. His final section considers access to credit among women traders in colonial and postcolonial sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.
New York and London: Routledge, The dozen essays in this coUection evaluate the maternaUst ideology of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women's movements as a daim to an adivist pubUc role despite dominant ideologies of gender difference; as a formative force in the shaping of state welfare programs; and finaUy as an impediment to women's further activism once a male-controUed state apparatus took over welfare policy-making. Essayists treat the overlap of maternaUsm and nationaUsm, the influence of eugenidst ideas, the relationship between maternaUsm and other feminist ideologies, and women's involvement in party politics, state bureaucrades, and local administration.
Irvine Loudon. Oxford University Press,