Means of Expression in Documentary Film 1

Display Schedule

Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
303VPD1 Z 1 2T Czech winter

Subject guarantor

Rudolf ADLER

Name of lecturer(s)

Rudolf ADLER

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The course is constructed in two parallel lines: Method and Theory.

In two semesters the students are acquainted with all phases of the formation of an original work build completely or predominantly from a audiovisual image of reality. Generally: A documentary with individual expressive tools that the documentarist has at their disposition and the potential of their effective use.

Firstly, methods and stages of the conceptual-dramaturgy thought process in forming and formulating the subject matter and theme of the work.

Then the course introduces report and reconstruction documentary method implementation with their potential and applications in the implementation process.

It analyses implementation processe, structure and components of documentary shooting. The structure of the motif and situation in the implementation of a documentary work and its composition in relation to individual genres and compositional procedures and relationships of visual and sound expression tools.

Nearly each lecture starts with a detailed structural analysis of some historically important documentarists or contemporary documentaries, or their relevant parts. Theory information is derived from their execution.

This is a professional course and places emphasis on common „speech“ fundamentals of audiovisual expression, continuity and causality of the development of expression tools and their use and effect.

Emphasis is placed, also, on student activity. In discussions about individual examples and creative procedures students are guided to be able to individually consider, define and precisely formulate them and, in particular, apply them learnedly and, at the same time, creatively and uniquely in their own practice.

Mode of study

Semináře, projekce, strukturální analýzy promítnutých filmů, řízená diskuse.

Prerequisites and co-requisites

General overview of the history of documentary film, the most important phase of its development and key persons in a world and domestic context.

Course contents

  1. Common language basics of audiovisual expression. Symbol. Visual association. Visual culture, language and communication. Historical contexts. The cinematic image of reality - its originality and particulars. The shot and its main formation elements.

Film: Lumiére /A.S. Labarthe - Jean-Marc Chapoulie/ The French Documentary on the 100th Anniversary of Cinematography.

  1. Reconstruction methods in the implementation of a documentary work. Conditions, possibilities, limits. Documentary film - narrative, story, drama. Dramaturgical aspects and conditions for using reconstruction methods.

Film: Nanuk of the North. /R. Flaherty/ both versions. With sound and the reconstructed silent version.

  1. Implementation aspects and conditions for reconstruction methods. Motif. Situation. Their directorial formation. Description and emotion. Issues of directing people before the camera.

Film: See topic 2.

  1. The report (journalistic) method. Dramaturgical and implementation issues. Possibilities and limits. Basic dramaturgical concepts. Subject matter and topic. Their formulation and supplementation in implementation. Historical contexts. Mutual influences, transmittance and the potential for the combination of journalistic and reconstruction methods.

Film: Berlin /W. Ruttmann/

  1. Forms of the journalistic methods and their application. Direct reporting. Dramaturgical and implementation issues.

Film: L Altro aspetto /Massimo Zerbinatti/

  1. Drafted journalistic forms. Screenwriting and editing preparation. Contrasts and the harmonization of their internal motives and situations. Emotion and „truth.“ Commentary and its functional types and potential in documentary creation.

Film: The Seine meets Paris /J. Ivens/

  1. The Journalistic and reconstruction methods as live and effective implementation procedures. Modern application and efficience.

Film: Ztišení. Za vojáčka mňa vzali. /R. Adler/

  1. Reality, expression, symbolism, metaphor and stylization in dramaturgy and the implementation of a documentary. The individual signature and its source in documentary work.

Film: Tierra sin pan /L. Buňuel/

  1. Spontaneity, Creativity. Potential for experimentation in a documentary in relationship to the implementation and compostional procedures.

Film: A propos de Nice. /J. Vigo/

  1. The topic, its formulation and depiction in particular implementation procedures and media in documentary essay. Procedural methods in the detailed anlysis of a documentary. Formulating documentary shots and it's points. Music and sound dramaturgy in the documentary structure. Its part in the effect and result.

Film: Koyanisqatsi. Anima Mundi /G. Reggion/

  1. The consequences of non-precise topic formulation and its depiction in the structure of a documentary. Causes of its incohesion and disintegration. Detailed analyses of documentary structure - continued.

Film: Praha /J. Šajmovič/

  1. Special cinematic procedures, types and genres in relationship to documentary film. Potential and manners of their use in creating a documentary. The intersecting and mutual influence methods of documentary film and the research methods of natural science and the humanities. Applications in creative practice. Supplementary topics: Czech science-popular film as a significant phenomenon of domestic cinematography. Its contribution to the development of audio-visual expression.

Films: Selected examples from the works of J. Lehovec, F.A. Šulc, K. Goldberg, M. Kablelík, M. Bernat. Film" Microcosmos. /Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou/

  1. Review. Assignment of paper topic. Preparations for credit.


Recommended or required reading

BILL NICHOLS, Úvod do dokumentárního filmu, Akademie múzických umění v Praze a Jihlavský spolek amatérských filmařů, 2010, ISBN 978-80-7331-181-0

Guido Aristarco, Dějiny filmových teorií, ORBIS, Praha,1968

Guy Gauthier, Dokumentární film, jiná kinematografie, AMU, Praha, MFDF, Jihlava, 2004ISBN 80-7331-023-6

Gilles Deleuze, Film 1 Obraz-Pohyb, Národní filmový archiv, Praha, 2000, ISBN 80-7004-098-X

Gilles Deleuze, Film 2 Obraz-Čas, Národní filmový archiv, Praha, 2006, ISBN 80-7004-127-7

Rudolf Adler, Cesta k filmovému dokumentu, FAMU, AMU, Praha, 2001 /třetí rozšířenné vydání/ISBN 80-8588š-72-4

Jerzy Płažewski, Dějiny filmu 1895 - 2005, ACADEMIA, Praha, 2009, ISBN 978-80-200-1689-8

Béla Balázs, FILM, Vývoj a podstata nového umenia SVKL, Bratislava, 1958

Assessment methods and criteria

Conditions for completing the first part of this two-semester course:

Minimum of 40% attendance

Active participation in discussions.

Further information

This course is an elective for all AMU students

Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:

room 211
Room No. 211

(Lažanský palác)
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Mon 15:40–17:15 Rudolf ADLER Room No. 211
Lažanský palác

Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans