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In the article “Projecting the Self: Filmic Technique and Construction,” Sherman makes use of many of the elements that Harvey indicated with regards to an academic essay. Some of the elements used are: Title, Thesis, Stance, Style, Evidence, Sources, Structure and Stitching.

The first noticeable element in the article is the title which presents itself as “Projecting the Self: Filmic Technique and Construction”. The title engages the reader and gives you a clue of what the article is about. Sherman also uses a thesis to present her main view regarding documentaries and truth relative to such documentaries. She states that film truth whether it be cinema verite, kino-pravda, or observational cinema, is a monomer because film is never objective; her thesis reflects her stance and style. Throughout the article, arguments were supported thoroughly by evidence, some supplemented by sources. One example being: why the use of narration in Pizza Pizza Daddy-O by Hawes (source). Together, several arguments cohered together to form the structure of Sherman’s essay. And in a way, stitching is noticeable in the linkage of each defense to the argument with evidence and quotes from sources.

Harvey’s elements represent the foundation of an essay and Sherman followed most of the principles involved in writing such an essay. She used these elements successfully to help the reader understand her argument with clarity.

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In order to explain what a documentary is, Grierson used the quote “…the use of natural material has been regarded as a vital distinction…”. Natural material is metaphoric to the raw, unedited video in my opinion and it is this that separates it from other media. Thus, a documentary is a medium that is intended to capture reality as it is.

Paraphrasing, according to the essay, Grierson established three principles in which he feels documentaries should adhere to. The first principle is: Documentaries should photograph the real world, hence not artificial. The second principle is: Original actors(normal people) and original scenes gives a better understanding of modern world realization. And the third principle is: Materials and stories in real life are finer than acted stories, indicating that they have better taste and are of better quality. And the reason for this is because cinema exaggerates these stories. He appears to be obsessed with the style of a documentarian named Flaherty and is impressed that he severed his ties with the film studios. Flaherty’s principles of documentaries are mastering its material on the spot and distinguishing between description and drama. Surprisingly, Flaherty embeds himself into his documentaries, by living the life of the people whom he is filming; like an anthropological take on research. Indirectly, Grierson’s principles mirror Flaherty’s or vice versa. Flaherty’s “material on the spot” seems identical to Grierson’s “photograph of the real world”- both unchanged, raw and unedited. Flaherty implanting himself into the lives of different societies for one to two years seems identical to Grierson’s approach of using original actors to get a better understanding of the real world. Thus, Flaherty gets a better understanding of the real world by living it.

Grierson expresses profound distaste of the studio system, evident by the phrases “lily-fingered interpretations of the metropolitan actor” and “shimsham mechanics of the studios”.  As the article progresses, you learn that the studios tried incorporating the method that earned them success into documentaries, in hope that they will be lucrative as well. Grierson is totally against this because it changes the concept of what a documentary really is. He also indicates to the studios that there are opportunities to make creative documentaries.

Grierson’s view towards documentaries is very similar to Eisenstein’s views on cinematography as montage. The following are reasons which may support the claim. Grierson mentioned the following terms “surface values” and “explosive revelations” in his essay, which seems directly synonymous to Eisenstein’s “denotative” and “depictive” respectively. Surface value is what something appears to be on the outside (denotative) and revelations indicate a hidden meaning(depictive). And this is also similar to Barthes’ “signifier” and “signified” concept as well.  Just like Eisenstein’s Montage of Attraction article, a side by side comparison of surface values with revelations will result in our own interpretation of the material- juxtaposition. Grierson also referenced a lot of poetry to justify his idea, just like how Eisenstein referenced the haikus and tonkas. And I could be wrong, but I feel that Eisenstein’s “collision of shots to form montage” is equivalent to Ruttmann’s “movement of images to form symphony”. So symphony is montage…???

The above reflects my direct analysis of Grierson’s essay but these are my personal views. Why all the babble about adding creativity to a documentary? Wouldn’t that change his intended perception of what a documentary is? Wouldn’t he be contradicting himself and actually be supporting the studios, whose success is based majorly on creativity rather than reality? Wouldn’t Flaherty’s “…till the story is told out of himself….and follows him in his distinction between…” be a precursor to prejudice and propaganda?

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1. An unknown person reveals his name as Brad
2. Close up shot: a photo of Brad Cooper infront of a magazine and text saying “there’s another brad.
3. He reveals his age age which is 17.
4. Extreme Close up shot: The name of the magazine is Seventeen.
5. Brad is asked where are you from?
6. The magazine is flipped to a page with a map of Trinidad.
7. Brad reveals his favorite musician as Britney Spears.
8. The magazine flips to a page with a photo of britney in an uncompromizing position. A text bubble says “this is brad’s favorite musician…OKKKK?”
9. Brad reveals his favorite movie as JAWS.
10. Magazine flips to sharks attacking students during spring break.
11. Brad reveals his favorite tv show as Jersey Shore and character as Pauly.
12. Magazine flips to a photo about Pauly and a circle is made around Pauly’s hairstyle
13. Extreme close-up of Brad’s hairstyle.
14. Photo of pauly again and a laugh track.
15. Brad mentioned he attends to Queens College.
16. The magazine is flipped to a page showing QC as the best college to attend right now.

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In Barthes’ essay, he used Mankiewicz’s film, Julius Caesar, to present his views on the ethics of signs and its relation to the film. According to Barthes, these signs present themselves in two ways: “openly intellectual” (signifier) and “deeply rooted”(signified).

The first sign Barthes indicated was the wearing of fringes by the characters in the film. He simply illustrates that the fringe refers to the locks of hair on the forehead- openly intellectual. But he then explains the “deeply rooted” aspect of the sign (the wearing of fringes) as an association of being Roman- “Quite simply the label of Roman-ness” and “where Romans are Romans thanks to the most legible of signs: hair on the forehead”.

The second sign Barthes mentioned was the constant sweating of characters in Julius Caesar. Again, sweat is simply the “openly intellectual” aspect of the sign. But what is the deeply rooted explanation? Barthes said, “sweat is an attribute with a purpose”, “everyone is sweating because everyone is debating something within himself” and “to sweat is to think- which evidently ……”- all subliminal indicators leading up to the assassination of Caesar (purpose).

Overall however, Barthes seemed dissatisfied with the film, Julius Caesar, based on how the signs were portrayed and interpreted. He uses the phrase “it is both reprehensible and deceitful to confuse the sign with what is signified” to justify his disapproval of the film. In order to accurately understand a film, his main idea is using signs correctly to depict it.

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Queens College fountain adjacent to the Rosenthal LibraryBotanical Artwork infront of the fountain

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As of Thursday afternoon, this site in general has been very problematic in every aspect (loading web pages, uploading pictures, making comments, signing in….everything).

As of Friday evening, uploading pictures yielded an error. All photos showed a blank thumbnail.

Saturday evening, web pages took literally 5-10 minutes to load.

This post has taken me literally 30 minutes. Anyone else has this problem? Is it a possibility that the storm damaged the web host’s server? But then again, i see other people posting.

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