Faculty of Arts

Skip to content | Change text size

print version

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2011
Coordinator(s)Deane Williams


Previously coded FTV3710


This unit will investigate a range of key issues in documentary and non-fiction film production from the inception of cinema to the present day, with a major focus on Australian documentary. Australian films examined include feminist films, television documentaries, deconstructive 'essay' films, documentary-fiction mix experiments, ethnographic films and films made collectively by minority groups. The theoretical and practical issues discussed in relation to the Australian films will provide a framework for the examination of a number of important phases in the historical development of documentary.


By the completion of this subject students are expected to demonstrate: an understanding of the styles, strategies and structures of documentary film:

  1. a knowledge of the major 'schools' in the international history of documentary film and to employ this knowledge in the examination of recent developments in documentary theory and practice;
  2. an understanding of the various modes of documentary film as they are influenced by technological developments, institutional policy and ideological inflections;
  3. an understanding of the complex relationship between the pro-filmic event, its representation and modes of reception;
  4. an understanding of the meanings and implications of a range of concepts as they inform documentary film theory:these include narrative, rhetoric, realism, mode of address, metaphor and metonymy, and expository form;
  5. an ability to critically engage with written and filmic texts in a clear and confident manner in both written and oral presentation;
  6. a deeper understanding of theoretical debates in the field of documentary film theory


Visual Test (1500 words) : 40%
Essay (3000 words) : 60%

Contact hours

1 x 1-hour lecture, 1 x 1-hour tutorial, 1 x 2 hour screening

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Film and television studies


VSA2710, VSA3710 and ATS2540