For our work we decide to watch some documentaries, and looked at a couple of aspects of the programmes. We mainly looked at the way the documentaries are structured, the narrative, objectivity, subjectivity and any Bias that may occur in these programmes.
One of the documentaries we watched was called Life in a Day released on the 27th january in 2011 which is a collection of video clips which were all recorded around the world on a single day, July 24, 2010.The film is 94 minutes 53 seconds long and consists of scenes selected from 80,000 submissions which were received from 192 nations.
The life In A Day documentary shows the events throughout the day from many different cultures which gives the viewers the point of view of how people live their everyday lives from all over the world. The documentary also covers different age groups, genders, rich and poor and religions to show their point of view throughout the day. The documentary makes a point of giving the perspectives of these different types of people so we as the viewers can understand how different people live their lives all over the world.
The Documentary went through the day in time sequence. The clips started in the morning of people waking up to start their day in a lot of different countries the continued to show the similarities and differences in different parts of the world. The documentary also tried to show different emotions such as the child carrying out a morning ritual with his father for their mother who had passed away.
The documentary raised some questions such as wether it is necessary to show animals being slaughtered in the manner that they were and if it should have been shown regardless of wether the programme shows the harsh reality of life. After watching the documentary i felt quite fortunate to be in my position after having a real insight into the difficult situations that many were in all over the world. Seeing the life of those who were affected in health ways or being poor makes me admire the way they they have adapted to their situations.
Another documentary i watched was Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald which was a programme on Trevor McDonald visiting a prison in America and talking to some of the worlds most dangerous criminals and got the situations and opinions of the punishment of execution.Throughout the Documentary Trevor McDonald doesn’t take sides until nearer the end of the programme when he reveals its his opinion that the death penalty shouldn’t stand but sees some understanding when talking to a convict of his crimes. Trevor McDonald also gets the opinions of different types of convicts in the establishments of inmates who have been on death row and later been found innocent and he also gets the opinions of the prison officers working at the prison. Trevor McDonald gets all the opinions of different sides so we as the viewers can come up with our own opinion on Death Row which is provoking more of an emotional response.
Trevor McDonald asks leading questions when talking to the convicts which gets the prisoners to open up to him. Most of the prisoners were very open to the crimes they had committed and Trevor McDonalds questioning helped them open up more and being more honest to the interviewer. He directly approaches the convicts and asks the how they “cope” Whilst talking to the prisoners he also uses silence which makes the convict feel like he has to expand on his answers again provoking more of an emotional response from the prisoner giving the viewers a real insight of their situations. One of the obvious questions raised from this documentary is wether the punishment of death is justified and wether it should stand. Trevor McDonald tried to keep it as balanced as possible but even some of the convicts themselves admitted they should be put to death which will certainly raise the question in the mind of the viewers.
The Sofex documentary from Vice is about the four day event in Jordan which consist of a “prominent one day conference that includes a series of comprehensive and topical seminars delivered by top military officials from around the world, tackling a wide range of issues pertinent to current counter terrorism and homeland security issues” stated by the SOFEX website. Shane Smith, who is the presenter, keeps trying to get different points of view from the different countries. He even shows and enquires wether the “baddies” train there. In the documentary Shane tries to speak to the Chinese at the event trying to get their side of the story but they did not wish to speak to him. Shane Smith also keeps those who are anti warfare by making similarities to events selling “next years car model” raising anger how easy it is to get your hands on this weaponry. The documentary went onto the different views of each of the countries to get their view of the event which sorts it so the viewers can see who are involved and how they are involved. The presenter kept on stressing throughout the documentary that many different countries are involved again not taking any sides and looking at the event from a fair perspective. The weapons on show and how easy it seemed to purchase them raised a lot of questions such as wondering who can get their hands on the weapons. This could include terrorists and rebels which really causes concerns for viewers of the show. Questions are also asked why an event is being held to showcase and sell all this weaponry and a worrying insight on the technology being used in todays warfare.
The Travel Guide To North Korea was another documentary by Vice’s Shane Smith trying to get an insight into the situation of North Korea. The documentary initially gets the opinions of Americans knowing of the difficulties between the two countries. The presenter also informed about the meetings between the North and South Koreans where the tension was evident. The documentary also contained clips from George Bush showing the political point of view which shows the majority of the Americans point of view at the time being concerned and feeling threatened by the North Koreans. The documentary didn’t have any real structure to it as the main focus was trying to get information from the country. The presenter did show clips from the vents in the day showing what an every day life is like in North Korea which showed the viewers how different it is to everyday life here and most places in the world. The documentary left me wondering why is this country so secretive and why they do not allow any mobile phones or films or photos being taken in the country. The way they live also asked the questions why is the country being run like this and how the North Korean people cope with living like this. It leaves viewers concerned why the country is so concealed and the power they possess wondering if they pose any threat to the world which has been suggested in the past with the possibility of nuclear weapons. The presenter visited a tea lady getting the non political point of view and creating rapport with this lady by playing ping pong and snooker.