Assess The Strengths And Limitations Of

7 July 2017

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& # 8216 ; verite & # 8217 ; Documentary Essay, Research Paper

The manner of film verite originated in France during the 1950 & # 8217 ; s and `60 & # 8217 ; s. It was developed by Drew and Leacock at this clip, and was besides taken up in Britain, as it was seen capable of offering a new documental experience. Verite as a term is frequently interchangeable with similar footings such as fly on the wall, or experimental film. Whilst there are elusive differnces between the related manners, for case, the presence of camera and crew is more expressed in experimental film, for the intents of this essay it is possibly best to see all these manners under the common verite streamer. It is the intent of this essay to discourse in what sense verite can be seen as the most direct type of docudrama, why this `directness & # 8217 ; has generated intuition as to its cogency, within its audience, and to what extent this intuition is justified. Possibly one ground why verite is seen as the most direct signifier of docudrama can be found in the it employs during the movie doing procedure. For illustration, verite is minimalist in footings of directoral intercession, and conveys a sense in which the spectator is given a direct position of what was really go oning in forepart of camera on the twenty-four hours of shooting. All this is exacerbated by the absence of T.V. lighting and the rareness of interviews, although verite has progressively utilised `the interview & # 8217 ; for intents of coherency. Another characteristic of the verite manner is that it tends to concentrate on extremely spatialised, tight topics. Again this is to show a more consistent image to the spectator, although this besides increases the `directness & # 8217 ; of the genre, in that the facts we learn about the group are non blurred by an overload of more general information, as would be the instance were the focal point more widespread. Despite being seen as the most direct signifier of docudrama there are a figure of jobs built-in in the genre which have caused it to be viewed with some intuition. One of the chief jobs centres around the extent to which verite can be seen as offering a `real & # 8217 ; or `true & # 8217 ; image of the topic it is involved in. Luckacs, for case, has claimed that the cameras attending to the & # 8220 ; here and now & # 8221 ; is an unequal manner of cognizing. Events, objects and phenomena et cetera are all caught in procedure of alteration and a web of causal dealingss that require representation if the `true & # 8217 ; narrative is to be to the full understood. Luckacs claims, nevertheless, that & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; the extended entirety of world is beyond the range of any artistic creation. & # 8221 ; . In short, he is connoting that verite is incapable of offering a true image of its topic because, as an attack to documentary, it is so limited in its range. This position can be linked to Dai Vaughans remarks in his book & # 8220 ; Television Documentary Usage & # 8221 ; . He claimed that verite docudrama shapers are more interested in utilizing indexal instead than iconic symbols in their movies. Vaughan uses the illustration of a brick wall in his statement, claiming that in a fiction movie a brick wall is iconic in that it does non count which brick wall is filmed every bit long as representation of a brick wall is shown. However, in a verite docudrama, the brick wall, as constructed by the spectator upon seeing the image, must bear a alone relation to the brick wall which is really before the camera. From this statement we can presume that the `realness & # 8217 ; of the objects/people/places etc shown in movie, is important to the verite attack. Yet, if we believe Luckacs remarks we must presume that verite, due to its limited range, is incapable of showing a existent, or true image of events. In this sense verite is limited, and any effort it makes to show a image of world must be viewed with intuition. Verite has besides come across jobs built-in in the topics it tackles. Many verite programmes have been attacked because it is felt that they are non showing a typical illustration of the wider subjects they are undertaking. This was notably the instance in series & # 8217 ; such as & # 8220 ; The Family & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; The Living Soap & # 8221 ; , where the programmes were being broadcast as they were being filmed. This created a state of affairs, as in & # 8220 ; The Living Soap & # 8221 ; , where alternatively of watching a programme about six typical pupils in their day-to-day lives, we were watching a programme about six immature people who happened, but more significantly, had found a new famous person position, exacerbated by visual aspects in adolescent magazines and on daytime T.V.. As a consequence, the programme was frequently more about how the participants dealt with their famous person position, instead than how they dealt with the typical twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours life of a pupil. There have besides been accusals that the topics of verite movies act up to the camera, or chair their behavior as a consequence of its presence. For illustration, Colin Young, in hisd article about Paul Watsons series & # 8220 ; The Family & # 8221 ; claims that during an statement between female parent and girl in one episode he & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; sensed that Margaret Wilkins [ the female parent ] was seting the brakes on for the camera & # 8211 ; non altering her place, but altering the manner she expresses it. & # 8221 ; . Further on he claims that Mrs Wilkins & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; sees herself as a representative and she casts herself as the built in interviewer. & # 8221 ; . Such behavior has been viewed with intuition by verites critics because it shows how this documental signifier can alter world. The docudrama shapers can besides be seen to pull strings participants behaviour for the camera. A good illustration of this can be found in Maggie O & # 8217 ; Kanes article on & # 8220 ; The Living Soap & # 8221 ; . & # 8220 ; The strain is unrelenting. Mark, a medical pupil wants to phone a friend to happen out the consequence of the afternoons rugby lucifer but a research worker is sent to state him non to do the call until the crew is ready. Marks mate is non home yet so the manager says they will

try again in ten minutes. They all sit around on the purple and black couch waiting to try again.”. Infact the input of the film maker is often at the root of the suspicion felt towards verite. The feeling is that documentary makers manipulate reality, be it consciously or subconsciously, to such an extent that the film becomes merely a vague impression of what would actually have occurred were the film not being made. The presence of the camera is often seen as the reason for this. Indeed, the B.B.C.’s “Principles and practice in documentary programmes” claimed that the recording equipment was “…a constant obstruction between the producer and his subject.”. Tyrell argued that “it is not the documentary film makers who are dishonest it is the form itself that is flawed by its own internal contradictions. It purports to show us reality, but what we see is inevitably an illusion. A documentary has to be constructed and contrived. Things have to be included and excluded.”. Audiences are often distrustful of what has been excluded, largely because they do not know whether any crucial information has been edited. Often things are left out because they are deemed unsuitable for T.V. audiences. One of the students in “The Living Soap” was heard berating the role of sex and drugs in the average students life. In his view the programme was not presenting a true picture, and the question of editing is often a reason for suspicion of verite in the wider audience. A number of ethical problems surrounding verite have also aroused suspicion within the audience. Grierson claimed that verite was dangerous because it is “…so open to exploitation by the provincially minded or the second rate.”. Indeed questions continually surround programmes such as “Sylvania Waters” or “The Living Soap” asking how ethical or exploitative it is to invade a persons privacy to such an extent. Suspicion towards verite could be said to be grounded here in that people are distrustful of film makers who are prepared to `exploit’ people to such an extent. However, there is a sense in which verite can combat all these weaknesses and emerge as a useful and interesting form of documentary. For example, in his style of film making, Roger Graef has claimed that verite is far from unethical because the participants in the documentarys han#ve the power to stop filming, or demand a certain sscene be cut. This idea that the participants `know what they are letting themselves in for’ takes away from the notion that they are being exploited. To counteract the argument that verite is unable to convey a true picture of reality one could look to the writings of Andre Bazin. For example, “The aesthetic qualities of photography are to be sought in its power to lay bare the realities…Only the impassive lens, stripping the object of all those ways of seeing it…is able to present it in all its virginal purity.”. Roger Graef is perhaps rather more realistic when he accepts that the presence of a camera and crew can effect the actuality of the subject being tackled. However, he claims that verite film makers such as himself have never purported to be filming reality as it would be were they not present. “All we have endeavoured to do in devising a new set of procedures in our film making, is to minimise the effect of our presence.” Paul Watson echoed Graeffs sentiments in his production of “The Family”. He and his crew arrived before the family got up and left after they went to bed. No T.V. lighting was used and the series was filmed through a hand held camera. It is felt this helped the programmes participants get used to the set up more easily, and whilst it did not present events as they would have occurred without the cameras presence, it did allow the subjects to carry on in an entirely different way than would have been allowed using more conventional film making procedures. As regards the editing of verite films, it could be said that bearing in mind the large amount of material during the making of most verite films it is necessary, for the purposes of coherency, to bring some order and construction to the material on hand. Also, this large editing ratio suggests that it is possible for the film maker to get a clearer idea of what is happening as the subject under scrutiny unfolds. Roger Graef claims that “…the B.B.C. Green book on documentary suggests you spend a day or two watching what happens and then you are suddenly an expert on what’s typical.” He claims that this method forms pre conceived ideas of the way the film is going to go which makes for `unreal’ film making. “We try to pay some sort of respect all the way through the process to what is actually happening and to what it tells us.”. In conclusion, It could be said that features of verite such as the editing process, the manipulation of the subjects by the film makers, and the reaction of the participants towards being filmed are inherent weaknesses of the genre and arouse suspicions within its audience thus rendering it useless. However, equally one could say that verite, through its direct approach and realistic style offers a unique insight into real life. Most verite documentarists appear to accept that the genre has its weaknesses, not least of which appears to be the way in which the camera distorts the viewers image of reality. However, it seems clear that aspects of real life do come through very strongly in verite film, and perhaps the reason why so many people are suspicious of it is because it is so realistic. As Roger Graef commented on the public outcry over the series “The Family”, To present to British families other British families, unexplained, is to confront them most uncomfortably. And they panic, lest the box turn into a mirror.

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