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Bill Nichols’ Six ‘Modes’ of Documentary

vikiwalden | Tuesday May 12, 2009

Categories: Other Topics, Documentaries, Modes

Poetic Mode

Reassembling fragments of the world, a transformation of historical material into a more abstract, lyrical form, usually associated with Grierson, 1920s and Modernists.

Joris Ivens - Rain Part I (1929)
Joris Ivens - Rain Part II (1929)

Humphrey Jennings - Fires Were Started

This video has been removed from YouTube.

Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali - Un Chien Andalou Part I (1929)
Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali - Un Chien Andalou Part II (1929)

Man Ray and Salvador Dali - L’Etoile de Mer Part I (1928)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=7DKREHb5QfA

Man Ray and Salvador Dali - L’Etoile de Mer Part II (1928)

The second part to this video has been removed from YouTube.

Oskar Fischinger - Komposition in Blau (1935)

This video has been removed from YouTube.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy - Play of Light: Black, White, Grey (1930)
Chris Marker - Sans Soleil (1983)
Marie Menken - Glimpse of the Garden (1957)

Expository Mode

‘Direct Address’; social issues assembled into an argumentative frame, mediated by a ‘Voice-of-God’ narration, associated with 1920s-1930s, though many modern documentaries/ factual programmes could fall under this category.

Ken Burns - The Civil War (1990)
Robert Hughes - The Shock of the New (1980)

John Berger - Ways of Seeing Part I (1974)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=u72AIab-Gdc

John Berger - Ways of Seeing Part II (1974)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=aHsV7ljusCs

John Berger - Ways of Seeing Part III (1974)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=h1yvciNEuAs

John Berger - Ways of Seeing Part IV (1974)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hNZNB-SfC7w&feature=related

Frank Kapra - Why We Fight (1944)
Pare Lorentz - The Plough That Broke The Plains Trailer (1946)
John Grierson - Night Mail (1936)
Robert Flaherty - Nanook of the North (1921)

Joris Ivens - The 400 Million (China, 1938) Part 1 / 6

http://www.56.com/u50/v_MzU4NDY4Mzk.html

Observational Mode

Watching the action play out in...


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