Communication and Culture | Authorship in the Media (Topic: Michael Moore, Errol Morris, and the Contemporary Theatrical Documentary)
C326 | 30719 | Malitsky, J.

TuTh, 7:00 PM-8:15 PM, C2 203
Required film screenings: M, 7:15 PM-10:15 PM, BH 005

Fulfills College A&H Requirement

Instructor: Josh Malitsky
Office: C2 217
Phone: 856-0405

One question ever present for documentary filmmakers and producers
is this: are documentaries economically viable?  Ask Michael Moore
and he might mention that Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed $120 million (…
and counting, the previous high was $21.6 million).  But Fahrenheit
9/11 did not come out of the blue.  Its success was the culmination
of almost two decades of resurgence, highlighted by Moore’s own
Roger & Me, Alek Keshishian’s Madonna: Truth or Dare and Steve
James’ Hoop Dreams.  Moore may be the face most commonly associated
with documentary’s growth in popularity, but Errol Morris has
perhaps been more influential in shaping contemporary filmmakers’
aesthetic and philosophical vision.  Moore brought audiences to the
theaters and generated enormous and highly polemical political
debate.  Morris’ films convinced many filmmakers that artistic
documentaries need not be relegated to film festivals and art
theaters alone.

This course will examine the feature films and television programs
of Michael Moore and Errol Morris as well as the work of some of
their contemporaries.  We will analyze their work critically and
theoretically and situate it within the historical tradition of
documentary film.  We will consider their respective impacts on the
film industry and audience expectations of documentary film.  We
will explore the differences between their film and television
output, examining how each medium effects the construction of the
work.  Lastly, we will consider how internet sites which support or
deny the claims/agendas of the filmmakers shape our ideas
of “Michael Moore” and “Errol Morris.”