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Course 1: Creative methods

The course includes 9 film lessons introducing 9 creative methods most often used in documentary cinema: reenactment, observation, compilation, long-term observation, visual anthropology, essay, popular-scientific, diary, investigation. more

Course 1: Creative methods

The course includes 9 film lessons introducing 9 creative methods most often used in documentary cinema: reenactment, observation, compilation, long-term observation, visual anthropology, essay, popular-scientific, diary, investigation.

Based on clips from particular works by leading documentary filmmakers, the course offers a detailed introduction of the employed method as well as the way the film communicates with the viewers and the ethical questions raised by the method.

Each lesson is available in two levels of difficulty. The recommended age of the students is 12 – 16 years for the basic level and 14 – 18 years for the advanced level.

The succession of the lessons in the course is not obligatory; you can adapt it to your needs and time possibilities.

The films are available in their original versions with English subtitles and the lessons are available in Czech and in English.

 

Goals of the course:

Basic level (12 – 16 years)

  • basic interpretation skills and knowledge of the process of documentary filmmaking
  • ability to formulate the film’s theme (the particular one as well as the “big” one “behind” the particular story taking place in the film)
  • use of individual means of expression (camera, sound, music, editing) and their effect on the meaning of the film (and its perception on the part of the viewers)
  • exploring the creative and social context of the particular work

Advanced level (14 – 18 years)

  • development of the students’ sensitivity to the conceptual questions related to documentary filmmaking
  • ability to distinguish the filmmakers’ creative style, to identify the pitfalls of representation by the given method and its manipulation potential
  • ability to discuss the ethical questions related to the given method
  • to learn about the historical context and genesis of the given method

 

Compilation Film:

A Low-level Flight / from the cycle Private Century

Gripping story of a family of a military pilot. Through a creative approach to compilation and a sensitivity towards the original information value of family archives, the film shows how private history can provide a different perspective of big history and society-wide issues. 

Long-term Observation:

Private Universe

Unique 37-year-long observation of the story of the son of the director’s friend gives a powerful account of the changing times from the early normalization era in socialist Czechoslovakia to the recent past of the Czech Republic as a modern European country.

Essay Film:

The Human Dutch

Historically acclaimed, viewer-friendly and immensely insightful example of a film essay in documentary cinema. Essays are multi-layered accounts of profound themes, usually with argumentative structure, combining public and personal perspectives, often including philosophical and self-reflective levels.

Reenactment in Documentary:

Cooking History

Military conflicts ranging from World War II to the Chechen War depicted through the stories of military cooks, their attitudes and recipes. The poetic film is based on an extensive research which preceded the shooting and employs reenacted situations in which real cooks describe their authentic experience.

Visual Anthropology:

Moments of Play

A comparative reflection on the diverse forms and cultural functions of play. In the poetic scenes filmed across the world, the film seeks the similarities and the deeper essence of the social need for the principles of miscellaneous plays.

Investigative Film:

The Great Communist Bank Robbery

Abounding in information and formal precision, the film uncovers the mechanisms of communist totalitarian power by telling a concrete story whose fabricated and unjust character represented the social atmosphere of many countries on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain.