**This class will be taught on Zoom**
**Note that this class will not meet on June 19 as the University recognizes Juneteenth, nor July 3rd for the 4th of July holiday.**
Documentaries are as creative, moving, and carefully constructed as any Hollywood film. Arguably, they require even more skill to do and do well, since they draw directly from real life and tell us something specific about it. We’ll explore six recent documentaries – All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, All Light Everywhere, Sr., Notturno, Dick Johnson is Dead, and Iris – to think about how documentary filmmakers, in very different ways, share important insights about life and the world.
SFSU luminary Bill Nichols identified six approaches to documentary filmmaking, which we’ll use to structure each week’s discussions. We’ll begin with a short introduction to the approach the film demonstrates and then we’ll talk about the film. Our conversations will be supported with questions and clips that illustrate the approach, how it works, and why it’s effective.
Please see below for where to locate the films and any associated costs. These titles may also be available to check out from your local library.
- All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras, 2022) – HBO Max, Amazon ($3.99)
- All Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony, 2021) – Hulu, Disney+, Kanopy, Amazon ($2.99)
- Notturno (Gianfranco Rosi, 2020) – Kanopy, Amazon ($3.99)
- Sr. (Chris Smith, Robert Downey Jr., and Robert Downey Sr., 2022) – Netflix
- Dick Johnson is Dead (Kirsten Johnson, 2020) – Netflix
- Iris (Albert Maysles, 2014) – Kanopy, HBO Max, Amazon ($3.99)
Each week, we will examine one documentary mode by focusing on a specific contemporary documentary. For example:
Participatory: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras, 2022)
Expository: All Light, Everywhere (Theo Anthony, 2021)
Poetic: Notturno (Gianfranco Rosi, 2020)
Performative: Sr. (Chris Smith, Robert Downey Jr., and Robert Downey Sr., 2022)
Reflexive: Dick Johnson is Dead (Kirsten Johnson, 2020)
Observational: Iris (Albert Maysles, 2014)