For my final paper for class I will be doing a comparison and contrast on three of the ESPN 30 for 30 series movies. I will be doing “The U” which is a film directed by Billy Corben that is about the university of Miami’s football team. I will also be doing “Fab 5” a documentary about the 1991 Michigan basketball team that was directed by Jason Hehir. My third will be Roll Tide/War Eagle an documentary about the history of the Alabama and Auburn Rivalry, directed by Martin Khodabakhshian. I chose these movies for one because I’m a big sports fans and they’ll be easier for me to watch, and secondly it’ll be interesting to really look at the way these films are structured and put together. Some sources I’ll use would be imdb, bleacher report, and any solid encyclopedia entry about the directors.
The documentary “Salesman” is a film produced by David and Albert Maysles. The film released back in 1969 and brought viewers into the life of four door to door bible salesmen. Now I can be honest and say I did not want to watch this movie at first because I figured it would be a very slow and boring piece, but to my surprise it was not. One of the first things I noticed was the nicknames the Salesmen were given. The Rabbit, The Bull, The Gipper, and The Badger. This right a long made me believe that the nicknames would be related to the persons personal way of doing things. This was when I first noticed that this piece would really introduce us to the characters and we would understand them. One thing I did notice that we got more attention of the Badgers life, I assume this was because he had the hardest time. The film structured was very different from any other documentary I had seen. There was no narrative talking in it as well as no interviews. Me being a major sports documentary fan I wondered if it was possible to do this in a sports film. It would be very hard but I think it could be accomplished with showing a college or high school team working out during some practices of some sort. But the beauty of this whole documentary it showed me that breaking the rules can lead to success in the film industry if done correctly and thought out thoroughly.
I have always wanted to do films that show viewers things is witnessed just coming up where I did. Coming from where I’m from sports play a big part of the youth lives, mainly football. Since starting to create films I’ve always wanted to let viewers see the lives and thoughts of young men who are seeking athletics as their only way out. I keep a pretty close relationship with players on the high school team from my hometown and it’s truly amazing how people who are considered so young think. They have their lives planned out. They know exactly what they want to do and u would love to capture that. One of the problems that comes with planning out your future is falling short, something I also want to capture. Another very common thing in my hometown are the “could have beens.” These are people who had all the talent in the world but just couldn’t get it together, now they find themselves in some type of trouble. People also need to gain inside on these people because I feel as if they have been judged without people knowing what’s really going on. There are so many films I would want to create just by looking at the things I see everyday, I could go on and on.
The documentary night and fog was a documentary that I can honestly say opened my eyes. I knew that all of the events happened but I did not know those types of details. One thing that the film got across was showing us the detail. I knew nothing about the humiliation, the numbers of deaths, or even how the bodies of the deceased were treated. The film was very graphic, I even found myself looking down and away at times. I also can understand why these images had to be shown as well. These hit home for people like me who hadn’t ever seen what really happened. I do believe it was ethical towards those who are learning, but those who were apart of the events probably would not like to see the images and would prefer they be destroyed. I believe in this time a lot of people would not want to really get into detail like that on events in our time without fearing that they might offend someone. If somebody war to have footage of a mass killing in current times I believe a documentary on it would not even try to include that footage. It would just be asking for complaints from someone, somewhere. Which leaves me curious if anyone had any complaints about this film.
As a film maker before you even start the process of filming you have to know what direction you want to go. Having an objective could be a good strategy to run with, but it could also have it’s negativity as well. Lets say somebody wanted to film a documentary about the rising of the cost to attend college, to get your point across you would have to have some type of feeling about the situation for it to come across as believable and well put together. That goes for either side, no matter if you support rising college prices or are against it. There are also certain types of films where it’s hard to create an objective, one film that comes to mind is a sports documentary that released not too long ago from Dick’s Sporting goods called “Hellweek.” It was about a high school football team showing what they endured during a week of summer practice. To get the point across good the film maker had to stay at a neutral point to show everything from what went wrong during the week of practice, to all the positive things that happened. But as things revolve I believe people will have more and more of a reason to be objective in making films with things such as the government shutting down becoming more and more possible there is no limit on what we may see with the films to come.
Boleslaw Matuszewski made a in a pamphlet how he felt about film being able to record facts about documentary. Considering he wrote this in 1898, even a person who has the slightest knowledge about film would know a lot of things have had to change since then. Based of some of the Lumiere films I’ve seen in various classes, they would just set a camera down and record life and whatever was going on with it. This very well is a part of documentary but so many other things have been added a long with it as time passes. One thing I do agree with him on is when he stated, “The simple pastime of animated photography will then become an acceptable process for the study of the past, and moreover it will give it a clear view and will remove it will give it a clear view and will remove, at least on certain important points, the need to investigate or study. I believe I can speak for a lot of people when I say I can honestly say I’ve became aware to a lot of things that I was not aware of by watching films about it. Like the documentary about the religion that believes in handling serpents and worshiping with fire. I was unaware of any activity like this until I seen this film.
When talking about the difference between truth and reality one film that comes to mind is a Film titled “Snow on tha Bluff.” The film is considered a reality/drama film directed by Damon Russell, in which Tony Snow, African American male with a troubled past gives the viewers information about his past and a look on how things happen every day in his neighborhood. It had a variety of real situations and also some that were obviously made up. There were a lot of reenactments on things that really happened to help tell the story of Tony’s life. In many interviews he said he would not really go into what was real and what was not because he did not want to speak on anything that would send him to jail. The movie had a lot of success to be an independent film being shown in the 2011 Slamdance Film Festival as well as the 2011 Atlanta Film Festival. The film won many awards such as the 2011 Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for editing from the Brooklyn Film Festival, as well as man best feature films in various underground film festivals. The film was purchased in 2012 and distributed in stores such as walmart and is available on streams such as Netflix. I believe the film had such a successful run because of the realness. Anyone who had been close to a lifestyle such as the one Tony lived could feel the emotion. Many people were not bothered by the fact that some of the stuff was reenacted because those parts that were raw and real were obvious. The African American community flocked to this movie simply because it was the closest thing to real life in some of our communities.