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DOCUMENTARY FILMS AND NATURE CCGL9012: Media, Politics and the Environment.

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Presentation on theme: "DOCUMENTARY FILMS AND NATURE CCGL9012: Media, Politics and the Environment."— Presentation transcript:

1 DOCUMENTARY FILMS AND NATURE CCGL9012: Media, Politics and the Environment

2 A chronology…. Since early… documentaries occupy a fuzzy middle ground between entertainment, education, art and voyeurism

3 Early film depictions of nature Eadweard Muybridge (9 April 1830 – 8 May 1904) British photographer, spent much of career in U.S. invented Zoopraxiscope in late `70s Images from: and

4 Nickelodeons and new technology Thomas Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) American inventor (phonograph, light-bulb and motion picture camera) Advent of Nickelodeons and small community theaters (precursors to modern cinemas) Nickelodeons showed short comedies, melodramas, actualities, etc. Edisons famous, "Electrocuting the Elephant, 1903

5 Actualities Not documentary films with a narrative story, but raw actual footage New lenses and camera technology offer public opportunity to view familiar subjects/animals/landscapes in new ways Popular videos include people feeding animals, animals fighting Tech limitations led companies to film in studios – led to increased numbers of studio zoos First half of 20 th century also characterized by nationalistic themes in nature films, glorifying bees or ants obedience, willingness to sacrifice for their ordered insect society Germany was a leader in early nature filming: 1927 – a German company shot Killing the Killer or Mungo der Schlangentoter The scene is still popular. Consider: Cobra vs. Mongoose by contemporary National Geographic

6 Preserving a lost reality Western explorer/adventurer Edward S. Curtis Nanook of the North - 1921 Martin & Osa Johnson – 1920s

7 Color and Sound! Living Desert, 1953 (won the Academy Award) Disney True Life Adventures (influential series) Disney magic in the editing room

8 Talking Animals? Some serious filmmakers in the middle of the century made documentaries featuring animals that talked…. Sounds silly? BBC One has (recently) taken the idea further in a comedy show.

9 After the 1970s Civil Rights movement… animal rights movement Nature documentaries become more critical of mankinds role in the environment Sometimes, protagonists have an agenda, i.e. saving a species. Saving that species often requires establishment of a park, which needs funding, or some other public support.

10 Naturalist celebrities emerge… Two examples: Jacques Cousteau – 11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997 – pioneer in scuba diving – Filmed during`50s-`90s Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter – 22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006 – Died while filming with a sting ray

11 Whats new (and old)? Modern narrative techniques are applied… and technology keeps improving… the trend continues. New example: REALITY TV! …whats next?

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