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FTV2710 - Documentary Film: An Australian Focus

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Deane Williams


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit will investigate a range of key issues in documentary and non-fiction film production from the inception of cinema to the present day, with a major focus on Australian documentary. Australian films examined include feminist films, television documentaries, deconstructive 'essay' films, documentary-fiction mix experiments, ethnographic films and films made collectively by minority groups. The theoretical and practical issues discussed in relation to the Australian films will provide a framework for the examination of a number of important phases in the historical development of documentary.


By the completion of this subject students are expected to demonstrate: an understanding of the styles, strategies and structures of documentary film:

  1. a knowledge of the major 'schools' in the international history of documentary film and to employ this knowledge in the examination of recent developments in documentary theory and practice
  2. an understanding of the various modes of documentary film as they are influenced by technological developments, institutional policy and ideological inflections
  3. an understanding of the complex relationship between the pro-filmic event, its representation and modes of reception
  4. an understanding of the meanings and implications of a range of concepts as they inform documentary film theory:these include narrative, rhetoric, realism, mode of address, metaphor and metonymy, and expository form
  5. an ability to critically engage with written and filmic texts in a clear and confident manner in both written and oral presentation.


Visual Test (1500 words) : 40%
Essay (3000 words) : 60%

Contact hours

1 x 1-hour lecture, 1 x 1-hour tutorial, 1 x 2 hour screening


VSA2710, VSA3710 and FTV3710