EGMT 1540: Reality Film (v.1)

Long before there was reality TV, there was documentary film. And the first documentary films were ethnographic — they tried to capture the stories, the behaviors, the cultures, of real people. From the Lumière brothers’ 1895 reels of French workers leaving their manufacturing jobs to Netflix’s 2019 American Factory, we’ll explore some of the most famous, and most controversial, motion pictures about real people. Together, we’ll watch, read, discuss and write (a little bit) about a new film each week. We’ll ask: Is ethical documentary possible? And if so, under what conditions? Broadly speaking, our conversations will address the problem of representation in any form — and maybe even offer some insight on contemporary “reality” shows.