Social Action Documentaries

http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/apocalyptic-future/Apocalyptic Future

Apocalyptic Future is a documentary about the pollution and consumption of energy in Beijing, China.

Their are several reasons as to why this documentary is strong and powerful.

Firstly, I believe that this is a strong and powerful documentary because it is longitudinal. Over a years worth of work was put in to produce this documentary. Because it is a long term documentary, you would expect that it is more honest, and that more devotion has gone into making the film.

One of the reasons why this is a longitudinal documentary is because photography is used to show the impact and extent of pollution and energy consumption. One photograph was taken every day for 365 days. So you can see how the weather changes and the extent of the pollution. You can compare and contrast two photographs of the same location, and see how serious the situation is based on the weather. In particular December 5th was very bad in the findings. You can barely see the building opposite because of how dense and thick the polluted air is.

Furthermore, a very important reason why this is a strong and powerful documentary is because it has been made by a small bunch of young people. The video has been made because ‘the people’ want to make a difference. It hasn’t been made by people who have strong connections to powerful businesses and individuals, but by ‘the next person’. It makes it more realistic, and it puts you into the picture.

Additionally the video is strong and powerful because it talks about the history of the film, and the extent of it. It talks about how the creator came about making it and why. And it talks about how it effected both him and his school, before expanding onto a national scale. This provides a backdrop. Often, you will watch something and you will want to find out about the making of the film, but it offers nothing.

As well as this, it talks about all of China as a whole and not just Beijing specifically. However it does not offer that many facts and stats about the rest of chin and just his personal view without any evidence to back him up.

Finally another reason why this is a strong and powerful documentary is because it offers a lot of facts and statistics. These facts and statistics really shock the audience and bring the reality of the situation into the picture. Their are many varying statistics about pollution, energy consumption and Beijing in general. It is in the hope that you can look at Beijing in a different way.

However the statistics and facts are not all good because they are not elaborated on. It does not expand on some of the points that are made by the stats and facts, and how we can solve these issues.

One particular point that is not elaborated on is about the locations of waste sites that are moving increasingly closer towards the city. I think that when the video showed an image of all of the waste sites and how close to the city they are, it shocked me and made me tremble. I think that, that particular point of the video is something that can be worked on because if it had information alongside it, about how you could slow/stop the waste moving in then it would be a good piece of social action, because by seeing that, you would imagine that people would want to do what they can as soon as possible.

Also, that point in general, is something to pick up on, because the whole video doesn’t really give you any answers. It states points but it doesn’t tell you how you can improve the situation. It uses too many stats and facts and does not use enough answers. The video does not offer a clear message, it throws things at you, but doesn’t tell you how to throw them back. It says that Beijing is overpopulated, polluted, and uses too much energy and leaves it at that.

Additionally, because of all of the stats and facts, it makes Beijing look like a bad place. This is partially deliberate. Because they are trying to bring a shocking reality about Beijing, but at the same time, at the end of the video he talks about how Beijing is a good place and what it should be like. The video has been made so people can try and fix the situation that Beijing has found itself in, but at the same time, it will make others want to stay away from it completely.

Lastly, the video only briefly looks into other cities other than Beijing. It displays photographic evidence of weather in other cities, but other than that, it doesn’t really talk about how serious Beijing’s situation is by comparing it to other cities.

 

http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/pieces-of-madrid/Pieces of Madrid

Pieces of Madrid is a documentary about Spain and how the recent recession has effected it’s people, is going to effect the people of the future, and how groups likes 15M and PAH are trying to help people.

Their are several reasons as to why this documentary is strong and powerful

Firstly, I believe that this is a strong and powerful documentary because it is presented in a timeline. Everything that is spoken about is presented in order. So you can see some of the effects that the recession has had on the people of Spain from start to end and see how situations have developed. You can see how the situation has got worse for some people, from start to end.

One of the reasons why I think that this is a strong and powerful documentary is because people’s opinions are heard. Several people are interviewed in this documentary and they are heard from several times throughout and not just for one short interview. This is very important because it means that many different views and opinions are heard. So their will be a wider view of everything and it won’t be so biased because several people are heard from and not just one meaning that it isn’t a narrow view of everything with very biased views.

Furthermore, the use of video footage makes this a strong and powerful documentary. This is because if you are going to talk about something, then you need to back it up with evidence, and has been done using the footage of protests and marches. My looking at something, you get a much better experience of what the situation was like, compared to if someone explained it to you, either in person or through a book. You can make what you want of the situation, without someone else telling you, what to think of it. It also gives the video a shocking reality. It makes the viewers feel like as if they were there. And you can see from what is being shown, just how badly the Spanish people have been effected.

Additionally, the video is longitudinal. This makes it strong and powerful. The video will have been put together after all of these events had occured and then it will have interviewed everyone afterwards as well. But the video is powerful because it shows how people have been effected in the long term and not just what happened straight after the recession. You can clearly see how the situation has progressed.

As well as this, their are many stats and facts that are used in this video to make it strong and powerful. Some viewers are very visual and the use of stats along with video footage, means that you can understand the situation with a clarity, without someone having to explain it to you. Stats are very powerful because they are shocking and they can describe a large situation in a small way.

Finally, the video ‘gets in with the people’, this is a very important factor, which contributes toward this being a strong and powerful documentary. In the video, someone who works at a food shelter is heard from. He is not interviewed like everyone else. He is interviewed in the shop, doing work, perhaps on the spot. Whereas everyone else was heard from in a proper interview set-up. So it is very good to here from someone ‘right here and now’.

However, not enough people are heard from ‘right here and now’. Many people are heard from in a proper interview set-up, and many of them may be experts or representatives who work for companies like PAH and 15M. Meaning that we heard from a not so diverse group of people, because only one of them was heard from ‘right here and now’. So the voices that were heard from were uneven and did not represent everyone.

Additionally, the video does not really ask for the views for those who are marching on the streets. All those who are marching or protesting peacefully, may be from a similar background and probably suffer from the same financial problems. The video ask for views of possible professionals and experts. So they may be financially healthier than those marching on the streets. So those that are marching on the streets might have stronger views and could offer a stronger input to the video. But are left out. This leaves a big gap in the video, which is not heard from.

Elaborating on that point, all the voices that were heard from were adults and no voices of youth were heard from. So the video doesn’t take into account all sections of society. So we only get the input from slightly older members of society. They will voice their opinions of things that matter to the, but the things that matter to the younger section of society might not be voiced through those that are older than them. Meaning their are points that are not heard about that would broaden the subject and give and equal and truthful view from those that are heard from.

As well as that, the video only partially gives a clear message. It follows events chronologically, so the wider image is not available at the start. But more importantly that you are just hearing about events and outcomes but you don’t fully understand what the video is trying to tell you. For example, the video talks about organisations like PAH and 15m (but only about half way through) and some of these organisations are there to help those in need. And the video should clearly illustrate what they do, and how people can seek help from them, but it only slightly touches on those issues.

 

 

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