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Nanook of the North (1922)


The Documentary Impulse

4 Tuesdays, April 2 to 23, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Senior Director, Education and Administration, BMFI
Location: Multimedia Room
Cost: $100 for members, $125 for non-members
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Even before its invention, the cinema was ingrained with a "documentary impulse"—the tendency and desire to capture and communicate facets of real life, both familiar and foreign. As the medium matured and coalesced into an industry, such films tended to be eclipsed by fictional, narrative stories. The cinematic documentary was marginalized and pushed before the feature (newsreels), out of the theater altogether (educational, instructional, and propaganda films), or, finally, off the movie screen entirely, landing on television.

In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of the documentary form in mainstream cinema, with major Hollywood players now eager to be involved in the traditionally affordable and potentially lucrative genre. This course examines the history of documentary film, considering different approaches to non-narrative cinema, and discussing some recent entries in the genre and the questions they raise about the form.


Sessions · Click to add to calendar
  • Tuesday, April 2
    6:30pm 2019-04-02 18:30:00 2019-04-02 21:30:00 America/New_York The Documentary Impulse http://brynmawrfilm.org:443/class/2639/the-documentary-impulse?id=2639&keyword=the-documentary-impulse Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Tuesday, April 9
    6:30pm 2019-04-09 18:30:00 2019-04-09 21:30:00 America/New_York The Documentary Impulse http://brynmawrfilm.org:443/class/2639/the-documentary-impulse?id=2639&keyword=the-documentary-impulse Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Tuesday, April 16
    6:30pm 2019-04-16 18:30:00 2019-04-16 21:30:00 America/New_York The Documentary Impulse http://brynmawrfilm.org:443/class/2639/the-documentary-impulse?id=2639&keyword=the-documentary-impulse Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Tuesday, April 23
    6:30pm 2019-04-23 18:30:00 2019-04-23 21:30:00 America/New_York The Documentary Impulse http://brynmawrfilm.org:443/class/2639/the-documentary-impulse?id=2639&keyword=the-documentary-impulse Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA