THE FOLLOWING COURSE WILL BE ADDED TO THE SCHEDULE OF CLASSES SOMETIME IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS, SO IT DOES NOT HAVE A COURSE NUMBER YET. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO REGISTER FOR IT AS SOON AS IT APPEARS IN THE SCHEDULE OF CLASSES.
CMCL-C 326: Authorship in the Media
(Topic: Contemporary Theatrical Documentary)
TuTh, 7:00 PM-8:15 PM, C2 203
Required film screenings: M, 7:15 PM-10:15 PM, BH 005
Fulfills College A&H Requirement
Instructor: Josh Malitsky
Office: C2 217
One question ever present for documentary filmmakers and producers is this: are documentaries economically viable? Ask Michael Moore and he might mention that Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed $120 million (… and counting, the previous high was $21.6 million). But Fahrenheit 9/11 did not come out of the blue. Its success was the culmination of almost two decades of resurgence, highlighted by Moore’s own Roger & Me, Alek Keshishian’s Madonna: Truth or Dare and Steve James’ Hoop Dreams. Moore may be the face most commonly associated with documentary’s growth in popularity, but Errol Morris has perhaps been more influential in shaping contemporary filmmakers’ aesthetic and philosophical vision. Moore brought audiences to the theaters and generated enormous and highly polemical political debate. Morris’ films convinced many filmmakers that artistic documentaries need not be relegated to film festivals and art theaters alone.
This course will examine the feature films and television programs of Michael Moore and Errol Morris as well as the work of some of their contemporaries. We will analyze their work critically and theoretically and situate it within the historical tradition of documentary film. We will consider their respective impacts on the film industry and audience expectations of documentary film. We will explore the differences between their film and television output, examining how each medium effects the construction of the work. Lastly, we will consider how internet sites which support or deny the claims/agendas of the filmmakers shape our ideas of “Michael Moore” and “Errol Morris.”