Communication and Culture | Media Genres
C392 | TBA | Joshua Malitsky

CMCL-C 392: Media Genres
(Topic: Michael Moore, Errol Morris and
the Contemporary Theatrical Documentary)

TuTh, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, BH 217
Required film screenings: W, 7:00 PM-10:30 PM, BH 304

A portion of this course reserved for majors

Professor: Joshua Malitsky
Office: Mottier Hall 108
Phone: 856-0405

One ever-present question for documentary filmmakers and producers
is whether or not documentaries are economically viable.  Ask
Michael Moore and he might mention that Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed $120
million (¡K and counting; the previous high for a documentary 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 affects the construction of the
work.  Lastly, we will consider how internet sites that support or
deny the claims/agendas of the filmmakers shape our ideas
of ¡§Michael Moore¡¨ and ¡§Errol Morris.¡¨

Films will include:
„ª	Roger & Me; Canadian Bacon; The Big One; Bowling for
Columbine; Fahrenheit 9/11; and episodes from TV Nation and The
Awful Truth (Moore)
„ª	Gates of Heaven; Vernon, Florida; The Thin Blue Line; A
Brief History of Time; Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control; Mr. Death;
The Fog of War; and episodes from First Person (Morris)
„ª	Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room; Capturing the
Friedmans; The Corporation; The Weather Underground