Media and film studies

Documentary, Reality TV and 'Real Lives'

Module code: P4041
Level 6
30 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Film, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

During this documentary module you'll analyse documentary production in its historical and cultural context and focuses on new developments in documentary production, reality TV formats, feature documentary and alternative documentary production. In addition we'll address emerging documentary production in the developing world.

The module covers foundational thinking in documentary; theorisations of different modes of documentary; reality TV; debates over documentary's truth claims; the boundary between documentary and fiction; dramatisation and reconstructions; and international independent documentary production.

Module learning outcomes

  • Show understanding of the 'rhetoric' of audio-visual documentary and the explicit and implicit truth claims embedded in documentary discourse andengage with critical debates over epistemology, ethics, power relations, viewer address and ideology in a documentary context.
  • Show understanding and insight into the history of documentary and its contemporary formats including Reality TV.
  • Deploy developed skills in critical analysis in relation to specific documentaries and/or reality shows and theoretical texts.
  • Devise and sustain a coherent argument about a selected aspect of documentary and/or reality Tv production, drawing on both on course materials and discussions and significant independent research.