A Conversation About Media in the Classroom

Poetic Documentaries: Life in A Day

Posted by: Danielle Derisse
Wednesday, December 04, 2013

There are six main types of documentaries. I spared my students over the abstract concept of it all and only went over five: expository, reflexive, participatory, performative and observational. An oft ignored (by me as well) type of documentary is the POETIC DOCUMENTARY

This mode of documentary came from early filmmakers heavily influenced by French impressionist cinema. Poetic documentaries are often percieved as avant-garde, having little to no rhetorical content. It's all about the mood, the tone, the texture -- no need for form and structure. 

They are all about finding the inner truth. 

One documentary that I revisit earlier this week was Life in A Day. It is a crowdsourced film made up of almost 80,000 arranged video clips from all sorts of people around the world. The clips all show occurences around the world on a single day, July 24, 2010. The film centers around a few deep questions: What do you fear? Who/what do you love? 

I think that this would be a fabulous viewing activity for any class.


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