Instructions: Choose a short documentary or animated film or experimental film from

the following series. Try to choose one where you can raise substantive questions about

the evolution of documentary form or film form in general. These are suggestions of the

most prominent films and the ones that may have something written about them. You

are free to choose ones not on the list.

You are expected to do additional research which might include some of the essays

listed in the Recommended Reading section of your course outline. Use, at minimum,

three different sources, employing proper citations (ie Chicago or MLA style listing the

author and date in the body of the essay). (Mitchell, 2004, p.4 ) and then include the full

citation in your complete bibliography.

The aim is to write a critical essay, one that successfully integrates a theoretical or

conceptual question with detailed analysis of the formal and thematic properties of the

film. Your theoretical or conceptual question should derive from your careful reading of

select secondary sources.

For example: In Projecting Canada, Zoe Druick argues that many NFB films might be read

in relation to the concept of ‘governmentality’ as each, in many different ways, embodied

a mission that would train, discipline and educate the Canadian citizen so as to fulfill

various governmental objectives. XXX perfectly embodies Druick’s assertion because

… or XXX might be seen as a strong exception to Druick’s assertion because…

Another conceptual frame might include the debates around Challenge for Change

where some writers (Marchessault and MacKenzie) argue that the avowed rationale for

the series—handing over the means of representation to the people—was never as fully

realized as the myths around the series would have us believe.

Rationale for Choosing the Film: Why did you choose this film, what appeals to

you about this particular film or set of films?

Production Context: Begin with a discussion of the production context, what

period, what studio, any information you can garner on the director. How is this film

significant in the evolution of war or post war Studio practices at the NFB ? How is the

film’s approach influenced by the historic concerns of its time of production (war versus

post war). How does the film fulfill (or subvert) the Griersonian mandate of

‘interpreting Canada to Canadians?’

Formal Treatment and Style: Describe the overall structure, story, and formal

approach of the film. Elements you might consider here are the use (or not) of voice

over narration, talking head interviews, synch sound versus narration, colour versus

black and white, poetic versus propaganda, impressionistic versus rhetorical. Does the

film have a political or social intent, how does it communicate that intent?How does the

formal treatment repeat or depart from the propaganda films of the 1940s?

Close Sequence Analysis: Conduct a close sequence analysis that supports your

argument. Choose one or two sequences and provide a close reading of these, linking

your reading to the film’s intent and overall formal and aesthetic approaches.

Evolving Mandate: How does the film fit into the evolving mandate of the NFB?

How does it differ from other films produced at the NFB, eg. the war propaganda films.