Expository means to lecture.
The expository mode is one of the most common types of documentary. David Attenborough’s documentary films are expository docs.
Reporters speak to camera, narration leads us to follow a kind of story. There is often a 3 Act Structure.
Features are: reporters or narrator or there is a journalistic voiceover often called ‘ Voice of God’ as it stands in for authority. We are told what to think. Interviews with experts often illustrate points to be made – an argument put forward.
Images are used to illustrate points – and are often shot at different times to the reporter pieces to camera. There are usually charts, photographs and evidence that are backed up by words telling us what they mean. ( 10 mins)
Expository Mode.Example: YouTube:
Hot Cities 25 – Los Angeles 1 – Surviving Climate Change – BBC Environmental Documentary
- In observational documentary the idea is to film with no interference. This approach tries to make the filmmaker invisible so as to capture reality. No voice overs questions or interviews are used in the pure form of ‘direct cinema’ which states that there must be no lighting and no re-staging of events. Codes found are often shaky camera, wide shots, bad sound signifying reality.
RULES OF DIRECT CINEMA
- No interviews
- No reconstructions or staging or repeating actions
- No set ups
- No questions
- No lighting
- No interference – have to wait until something happens
- Small crew.
OBSERVATIONAL DOCUMENTARY EXTRACT
Documentary: extract called ‘Near Death’: from Hospital: Dir: Frederick Wiseman:1989: US
History: Filmmakers started to think that if there was always going to be interference ( the observational mode) then why not show it and even use it to make the film ( participatory). This they felt was more realistic than the observation mode or approach. Nick Broomfield the director of the ‘Selling of a Serial Killer’ appears in his film as he explores the ‘story’ of a female killer. He speaks to camera and tries to find out the truth. He becomes the serial killer’s friend in an effort to find out what really happened and shows the audience his struggles along the way.
- Situations more set up by director so open to interference.
- Questions sometimes asked to annoy the interviewee.
- Shows difficulties faced by filming, people refusing to talk, walking away.
- Problems might be that the film becomes more about the director than the subject.
- Shows the search for the truth of a situation more than other types of documentary.
PARCIPATORY DOCUMENTARY Extract
Sunday Best: Aileen – The Life And Death Of A Serial Killer | Clip
Reflexive Documentary Mode.
The idea here is there is no truth. There are only lots of points of view and no one story may be the true story. The filmmaker often shows us their journey to find the truth and leaves it to the audience to decide what happened. It can be a strong method. In the Thin Blue Line director Erroll Morris -an ex criminologist -reveals that the man on death row is not the real murderer. This resulted in him being found innocent and released. Codes are: evidence, letters, photos as well as the codes of a crime drama thriller. These show us the process of making a film ‘reflexive’; turned in on itself. Interviews may show opposite ‘truths’.
- Opposing interviews and stories about what happened.
- Evidence that may oppose the stories of what happened.
- Process of finding out the truth often presented like a thriller film. Music, lighting and reconstructions of what people say happened.
REFLEXIVE DOCUMENTARY Extract
The Thin Blue Line (1988) – Director: Erroll Morris.US.