Film Review: Development of Genres in Film

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¶ … Film

The early years of documentaries

The documentary genre was initially created with the purpose of providing people with trivial information and it gradually came to discuss more complex topics as society discovered its ability to serve as educational material. Mainly depending on societal trends, people directed their attention at making documentary motion pictures focused on particular concepts. Ranging from wanting to indoctrinate the masses to wanting to present them with the latest fashion, documentary films were bombarding society with information that could be sent through a new and interactive medium. Motion pictures like Workers Leaving the Factory produced a strong effect on viewers and made it possible for people to realize that this particular genre was especially important in having them learn more regarding society.

It all started with short recordings showing various scenes such as "everyday life, circus and vaudeville acts, and skits" (Ellis & McLane). As people started to express lesser interest in films that were not particularly impressive and that were initially appreciated because of the novelty regarding the moving photographic image started to be presented with actualities. They were referred to as actualities for the largest part of the early twentieth century and gradually started to be identified as documentaries as they occupied a larger market position.

Individuals appeared to be most interested in seeing actualities that presented foreign concepts. The Lumiere organization traveled across France to shoot diverse scenes believed to express feelings that were exclusively French. People across the world could see motion pictures showing things like the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees. Similarly, individuals in France were presented with films displaying Spanish and Russian cultural values. The whole world appeared to enjoy seeing documentaries because of the information that it received through this informational means. Actualities were very rare during the early twentieth century and this influenced viewers in expressing increased interest in seeing them.

As previously specified, the masses were particularly impressed as a result of seeing documentaries showing foreign and exotic concepts. This is reflected by the effect that Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North had on publics across the world. His film presented scenes that were never before seen by the masses and this made it difficult for individuals to refrain from expressing admiration in regard to the general aspect of the motion picture. "He shot his footage in 1920, when there were no rules for documentaries and precious few documentaries, certainly none shot so far north that nothing grows except a little moss, and 300 Inuit could inhabit a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Development of Genres in Film."  April 2, 2012.  Accessed August 18, 2019.