Monday, January 31, 2011

Roger and Me

Alex Young

Though I saw attempts at using irony as a rhetorical tactic in Roger and Me, I don’t think the effect that Michael Moore had intended it to give came across. One scene in particular stands out to me, where he is talking about how great Christmas is, and Moore is showing a scene of a family being evicted from their home. This is ‘ironic’ because normally families are giving and receiving presents, the family on camera is having their home taken away. I think he was trying to say that while the CEO of General Motors is having a jolly ol’ time over Christmas, a family in the town where the GM factory had closed down. He had spent the whole movie implying that Roger Smith was closing the factory was the sole reason for the town being in such a poor condition. Many of his uses of ‘irony’ as a rhetorical tactic, relied on the viewer buying into his claim, which didn’t work for me. Another example is earlier on in the film, where the people in the factory are celebrating the last car going through the assembly line. This is ironic, because as one person put it “I don’t see why they’re celebrating, they all just lost their jobs”. They are practically celebrating the loss of their jobs. I’m not sure why he put that scene in the film because to me, it seemed like the people maybe didn’t understand the situation. To me, it seemed like the people were probably a little bit ignorant, which, since he was claiming that he was helping the people, might have been counterproductive. I think if Moore had better established his ethos early on, then his use of irony as a rhetorical tactic, as well as other rhetorical tactics used, would have been more effective on convincing the audience to support him.

Irony in Roger and me

In the documentary Roger and me, owing to layoff of thousands General Motor workers in Flint, a large number of workers would not support their families any more, even they have to move to other places for living. Moreover, crime rate is increasing and economy is depressed in that city. Filmmaker seeks out the CEO of GM, Roger Smith to query him about social responsibility and the layoff effect to development of the whole city. However, in the process of seeking Roger, Roger’s attitude towards GM’s layoff is aloof and indifferent. Moore uses irony as an effective technique to persuade viewers Roger should be responsible for the city’s backwardness and take social responsibility. For example, Moore tries to talk with Roger in various ways, while each time he was restrained by security guards or officers in GM Company, which makes viewers feel like Roger even dares not to confront with this issue. In this sense, Moore satirizes Roger’s aloof reaction to layoff and indifferent to citizen’s well-being. This irony technique reminds me of another documentary, The Cove which also uses irony to convince viewers. In The Cove, when filmmakers just come to the city, they are warned not to go to the places government officers showed. However, their behaviors indicate they are harboring some guilty secrets. Similar to Roger and me, Roger’s dodging about implies he is guilty and should face this problem. Besides, Moore employing irony technique skillfully makes the ending part a tricky one. The footage shows a family who was GM’s worker before is busy moving out of a house because of not having enough money, while Roger’s speech voice covers the video. Roger sends Christmas greeting to citizens but meanwhile, one family is cursing Roger who causes their current condition. Filmmaker Moore uses juxtaposition as a strategy to further contribute irony technique in the film and arouse social concern about this issue and criticize Roger’s layoff decision, his apathetic attitude and evading responsibility.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Irony in Roger & Me

Michael Moore seems to use irony as his main tactic throughout "Roger & Me."  He consistently uses voice-overs that seem to mock the message of certain scenes.  For example, when he is interviewing Bob Eubanks, you hear Moore say how wholesome the Newlywed Game is, but then you are shown a clip of Eubanks making dirty, racist jokes, and using foul language, not something you would expect out of a "wholesome" man like him.  There are also many places in the film where the things said during an interview, don't match up with what you're seeing in the background.  When Moore speaks to the former factory worker who is now a prison guard, he says that the work is nicer there.  While he is giving  his opinion, an inmate starts yelling and swearing, which makes you question how much better it could really be to work there.  Moore's use of irony is meant to make the viewer question what they are seeing and hearing.  Executives and other members of the upper class with secure jobs and a surplus of many are caught saying all kinds of positive things about the layoffs, and how well things will soon be going for everyone.  Then the exact opposite is shown.  People are getting kicked out of their homes and thrown into jail.  It makes the viewer question if these upper class citizens actually know what is going on in their town.

Moore's Irony

In Roger and Me, Michael Moore goes about making his film behind the theory of irony completely. Basically, irony is using words or scenes to convey the opposite meaning of the actual literal meaning. An example of this would be to say what a glorious day we have outside, when it is pouring down rain. To some, it is poking fun at a situation and showing what is really happening and what should. Moore starts out by giving his childhood up bringing then quickly going downhill from there the whole movie by showing how bad it really does get. You see scene from back in the fifties and the likes there of with thousands of people it seems, massive parades, and money pouring into the local economy through the help of all the massive GM plants located there. It really makes you sad to see how bad it really has become in that town. Moore talks about how almost all of his family had worked in some way shape or form at the General Motors plants there in town, but Moore himself didn’t want to do that when he grew up. So in a sense, Moore is irony to his family because they have done all this work for the company, then their son becomes a documentary film maker doing a film on the plants closing down for good and then town collapsing on itself. I’m sure they never would have thought they would see the day. Later in the movie, Moore goes to polo game that one of the founding families has every year in Flint. They hire people from the town to be human statues who have lost their jobs but the irony is when Moore talks to the executives about the problem, the people who are affected, and the workers turned statues, cannot say anything at all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter 367: The Passion of Michael Moore

Working Class Hero

The article about Michael Moore that I read was the Working Class Hero written by Louise Spence. Spence’s main focus was two documentaries, the first being Moore’s persona roger and me in contradicting Tony Buba’s persona Lighting over Braddock. Both of these films are similar focusing on the unemployment of plant closings in the filmmaker’s hometowns. Also with this was the focus on how helpless the large corporations were regarding this issue. Spence wanted to break down in detail the two filmmakers in how they approached this documentary in different ways.
Spence’s view on Moore was rather intriguing because he described Moore as sort of a joke in some ways. He explained how Moore did not fully emphasis his points and how it seemed as if Moore was confused himself on the way he presented Roger and Me. Spence also feels that Moore is rather cocky so to say because Moore gave a leader vibe to people as if he was always right. Overall when it comes to Spence’s view on Moore he basically described Moore as having a reverse psychology type of lifestyle and is somewhat weird.
I would say that Spence is right in many ways because as I analyzed roger and me there was a confused feeling on what Moore was trying to convey and how he was trying to do it. Sometimes it was like Moore was making the viewer think more then what they needed to think which sort of the outline of the entire documentary was.

Role Model? I think NOT.

The article titled “Michael Moore, Role Model”, Peter Schweizer tells us about how all the ways Moore likes to preach his believes, but doesn’t always practice what he says. He points out the fact that Moore bashes society for being greatly racist. He complains that only 5% of the journalism employees are African American and that people in America don’t want to melt together and avoid living in the same neighborhood as blacks. He says this, but Schweizer is quick to tell us that Moore’s very own neighborhood he lives in Caucasian. When we find this out as readers all we can see is how hypocritive Moore is. He wants to say racism is a problem but he himself is contributing to this “problem”. Moore also tells everyone around him that he does not invest in the stock market and that the stock market is only to benefit people who are already wealthy. Things like the stock market are only making it harder on the disadvantaged families. However, Moore actually invests in several large corporations. Again how hypocritical can one person be? I agree completely with Schweizer after reading his article about Moore. This man seems completely, not only hypocritical, but also self centered. He’s pointing fingers at everyone else in America and saying what they’re doing is wrong and that they should do what he believes in and we would be a better country. But he is doing those very things he supposedly doesn’t believe in. Stop looking at everyone else and focus on you.

Who's Afraid of Michael Moore?

I read the “Who is comfortable with Michael Moore?” article. Michael Moore shows that in Sicko, the health care industry as basically turned down 50 million Americans because they don’t adhere to the right companies or insurance corporations. Moore goes on to show a bunch of different examples, and probably one of the most notable is a carpenter who lost two fingers to a circular saw. Now the cost to fix both fingers would be around eighty thousand dollars, and the man couldn’t afford to have them both fixed. He did however to have the ring finger replaced because he was married and as Moore called it, “a hopeless romantic”. Now there are some obvious flaws in our system. And most agree that Moore does a good job breaking through the red tape and getting the truth, but with that being said most say that he is a very crude film maker. He’s portrayed in some lights as a “professional journalist”, but most of the media realizes this isn’t so. Moore uses dark humor and tries to poke fun at the establishment apparently, I however can’t really comment too much on this because I have never seen any of his films. He talks about how back in the seventies or eighties when Regan was president, how things were pretty bleak and the system needed reform. When Clinton came into office, it seemed as if there would be universal health care for all. As we know now that hasn’t really occurred. Currently, the Senate is trying to overturn it. It seems to be the overwhelming consensus that either you agree and like Moore, or you know he’s bring the issues to the surface but do not either appreciate his tactics or like him as a person. Some say he doesn’t use facts, other may say he cuts corners, but it still seems the main idea is still intact.

Michael Moore Article

In the article "Working-Class Hero: Michael Moore’s Authorial Voice and Persona," Louise Spence looks at Michael Moore's persona in connection to his film-making.  He looks just like the "everyman" but really views himself as being better than the average person.  Since he includes himself in each of his films, the audience is able to see a side of his persona.  Though it is hard to say if this is his "real" self.  Moore shows himself as being sure of everything that he speaks about, and is skeptical of everything that the opposing side has to say.  Instead of Moore including information from all sides of what is being argued, he is sure to only include things that will benefit his argument, and further promote his side.  He is rather inconsiderate and says unnecessary things to politicians and celebrities alike, and works to destroy their ideas to make his seem more important and correct.  Spence goes on to explain that Moore is not intellectual in many of his films and writings, but instead just wants to showcase his distrust and disrespect for all authority.

I must say that I agree with Spence's viewpoint of Moore.  Although I have never seen his documentaries, I have seen him on certain news programs where he has come across as a rather pretentious man.  He seems to believe that he is always right, and his view on certain subjects should be the view of all Americans.  He doesn't come across as a person who wants to better America, but rather as someone who wants to belittle everyone who has ideas that he thinks are totally wrong, just because it's not what he thinks.

The Perils of Michael Moore

The article I read, called The Perils of Michael Moore: Political Criticism in an Age of Entertainment, written by Kevin Mattson, describes Moore as a documentarian out to change the world. Mattson begins by describing Moore’s start in the business of filmmaking. He continues throughout the article, speaking about each of Moore’s films and the different kinds of impacts they have had on America. For instances, Mattson talks about Bowling for Columbine and how Moore and two students convinced Kmart to stop selling the type of bullets that were used in the Columbine shooting. This illustrates the power that Moore and is camera can have when big companies’ dark sides are presented to the public. Mattson praises Moore but also chastises him for failing to get interviews with important people in most of his movies. Mattson doesn’t understand why Moore has to use humor in every situation, even a serious one. His use of humor is a big turn off for all his interviewees and causes him to lose out on important information from CEOs. Moore is forced to use outside information from secretaries and security guards.
Mattson also criticizes Moore for linking together pictures of random occurrences trying to make a point that never really reaches the audience. Mattson does point out though that even though Moore doesn’t reach the big CEOs of companies, other parts of his films are factually correct. For instance, how news stations after Columbine were making smaller news bigger in hopes to frighten its viewers. Mattson seems to appreciate the information that Moore exposes to the public, but doesn’t always agree with the way Moore obtains the information or how he presents it.

I do agree with Mattson, Moore is striving to expose the dark side of big business through humor to make the film entertaining. This does help make the films entertaining but also limits the scope that Moore can accomplish. As Mattson says, “Generating a humorous buzz doesn’t shake things up so much as symbolize powerlessness.” Moore may be able to change some aspects that he doesn’t like about America, but his use of humor sometimes turns people away from answering his questions. I also agree that the way Moore presents the information he collects may not always be in the right format. Moore may need to focus less on the entertainment aspect of his films and more on presenting the evidence.

SiCKO! Paris: Health Care that works

Alex Young

The author appears to support Michael Moore’s opinions on American health care with regards to Parisian health care. In the article, he sites many examples from historic records that match what Moore had stated in his documentary SiCKO. He states that SiCKO is not a new idea or opinion, but a restatement of what has been said in the past by other doctor[s] or social analysts. Moore states in his documentary that in terms of financial and research investment, the U.S. and France are relatively equivalent. However, when it comes to satisfaction of the population in relation to their existing health care system, Paris outranked the U.S. by far. He argued that this proved that the key to a good health care system didn’t exist simply in the investment made, but in the proper structure and deployment of the system. The author then goes on to mention a bit of history about the growths and reforms of health care in France and America. He followed the tale of a student-turned-doctor who went from America to France in order to learn their system. The author cited portions of letters that this doctor sent back to America about his findings about the way that health care was taught in Paris compared to America. Of course, his findings were that There were practices that had existed and were being developed in France that America hadn’t even begun to explore, which allowed for them to move further ahead with a more structured and practical system. Notably, the use of cadavers to learn about origin and residence of disease in patients, as well as learn proper anatomy of the human body. This was something that supposedly wasn’t being studied anywhere else aside from Paris. Among other mentions in the text, the author makes many points that support Moore’s claims in his documentary, that France’s health care system is far ahead of Americas, and that we have much that we can learn from them presently, as well as historically.

The Perils of Michael Moore

In “The Perils of Michael Moore”, Kevin Mattson discusses Michael Moore’s filmmaking style, content, and level of effectiveness. He argues that Moore’s use of humor causes his message to be lost in jokes and irony. He also thinks that his aggressiveness in pushing his message on viewers can be overwhelming and turns people off. As I have seen some of his films, I can completely agree with his view on Moore. Without getting political, I can’t say that Moore’s films have ever motivated me or anyone I know to do something about the issue he sheds light on, even if I agree with his stance. They are entertaining, and in the moment that I watch them I may think that there is corruptness in America, but after the films is over, I rarely, if ever, think about the message presented again. Moore presents himself as an average middle-class American, but his films are made for a very limited group of far-leftists who are already trying to change the system. For others who aren’t as extreme in their views, his message seems like just a humorous way to present a current issue. They never discuss the other side of the problem, and seem very narrow in what is right and wrong. His aggressive interview tactics are uncomfortable, and his use of irony can be awkward. Overall, I agree with Mattson in his idea that Moore’s films are more about entertainment than change.

MIchael Moore, Role Model

Matt Murray

Throughout the article "Michael Moore, Role Model", the author portrays Michael Moore as a hypocrite multiple times. To present this opinion, the author highlights the multiple accounts on which Moore has publicly stated his own opinion that white Americans are still maintaining a high level of racism. Specific occurrences of this that the author uses includes a quote by Moore: "At work we whites still get the plum jobs, double the pay, and a seat in front of the bus to happiness and success". Shortly after this quote is presented by the author in the article, the author reveals a few different pieces of information that expose the hypocritical side of Moore. It is summarized that throughout all of the films that Moore has produced, out of the 134 different people he has employed, an astonishingly low total of 3 of those workers were African American. To bolster their opinion even further, the author divulges another, somewhat shocking, piece of information about Moore: His home in Central Lake, Michigan which is part of a 2300 person community, did not have a single black resident according to the census of 2000.
With the presentation of these facts by the author, I can't help but to agree with the opinion that Michael Moore is a serious hypocrite. He continuously bashes the general white population for being racist and not giving African Americans an equal opportunity, yet there is plain and simple proof that he is just as big a part of the problem as anyone else may be. He questions the white population, "If you're white and you really want to help change things why not start with yourself?" It sounds like he needs to start listening to his own advice.

The Passion of Michael Moore

The Passion of Michael Moore is at first discussing a little background on more and then later leads into an interview with Moore. This article gives you the answers to why Moore made Fahrenheit 9/11. When he was asked if his original intention was to take down Bush, Moore said that he was just trying to make a good movie. As the interview gets deeper and you pay close attention to what is said you see that Moore put certain things in this almost knowing the consequences of doing so. His original intentions may not have been to take down Bush but if he could make it happen. Moore sees no wrong of what he is doing. In my opinion Moore chooses things like columbine and 9/11, things that a lot of people had a hard time going through. Moore uses that to his advantage to take down the politics, but what he doesn’t realize is what he is doing to the innocent. This article talks about the movie he made about Columbine. Moore was sued by one of the brothers that went through Columbine. In some opinions what Moore is doing is very wrong.

Moore also talks about many things that he wasn’t trying to do and that was just the way people interpreted it and not how he did. I think that Moore knew what he was getting into and what he is doing. Moore said that he knew that everyone wouldn’t have the same opinion as him and he was right.

Role Model

Role Model by Peter Schweizer starts off very interesting. It starts off with almost a description of Michael Moore where the author claims that Moore has reoccurring themes in his films, books, etc. One of these themes is racism. Not knowing anything about Moore, I now think that maybe he is trying to be an inspirtational guy, almost a "do the right thing" type of person. The author states that Moore almost puts down Americans for being racist, and being capitalist.
Also in this article, the author seems to be calling Moore a hypocrite. Many times he explains facts about his community or his camera crew, and says that there is very few, or usually no African American people working for him, or living near him. This makes the reader dislike Moore for his hypocritical point of view, since in his works he says that America ran from African Americans and they need to hire more of them.
The author continues with the wrong side of Moore within this article. He keeps stating that he and his wife have a foundation that they control where all of the money in it goes. In this article I really get the feeling that the author is trying to give everyone reading a sort of negative standpoint on Moore, if they are like me, and know nothing about the guy. This whole article is full of claims that state he is a hypocrite.
Finally, the article finishes with more negative views of Moore. The author states that Moore always claims in his films that he does not like the stock market or participate in the market, however the author says he tells the IRS a completely different story. All in all, I believe this article is trying to say how people, like Moore, can try to be good on the outside, but really only want money.

Michael Moore

The article titiled, What is it, What it Does and What is Might Do, discusses several of Michael Moore’s films. It begins by explained one film in particular, Sicko, which is about Americans desperate need for better health insurance. The author goes on to explain how this film aroused millions of viewers, both agreeing and disagreeing with the message portrayed. The author then explains how Moore used successful tactics throughout the film by going up close and personal with the people of America affected by the lack of health insurance. One interesting statistic the author mentions is that, “twenty-five percent of debtors cited illness or injury as the specific cause of bankruptcy.”

The author then brings up Moore’s comparison regarding other countries health insurance policies. However, the author argues that these comparisons are not relevant in several cases in the film to the United States. Although this may be true, the author follows up by giving an example these comparisons do work. For example, when these debates sometimes get distorted, many do not realize that countries like France, Canada and England pay for their care through taxes, and health care is not actually “free.” In addition, the author discusses how, although the movie may not change Republicans into Democrates, it still has an impact on the audience. It convinces the audience to demand change. As the author states, “Moore successfully heightens a sence of urgency, especially among uncertain “middle-class” Americans.

Although I have never seen the Movie Sicko, I can understand many of the authors points just from his explanations. One of the best ways to get to the audience is through triggering their emotions. More does so by getting to know the millions of Americans that do not have sufficient medical care, and suffer greatly from that. It seems like a film that for once, may target a younger generation, or simply inform normal Americans of a problem they may easily be blind to.

Michael Moore - Role Model

In his article, Peter Schweizer successfully plants a seed of doubt about Michael Moore’s authenticity as a filmmaker. According to Schweizer Moore is a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another. He calls Moore out on criticizing capitalism, racism, discrimination, evil corporations, the stock market, and the American lifestyle in general. However, Moore himself is contributing to what he so adamantly speaks against in his documentaries. For example, the fact that journalism employs blacks as only 5% of their workers infuriates Moore. Or so he claims, because of the people involved in creating his documentaries, Moore stays within this percentage himself.
Also, when speaking of capitalistic and money hungry Americans, Moore states “The system, inferior to that of much poorer nations, benefits the few at the expense of the many.” “Count Moore as one of the few,” says Schweizer. Moore lives in a wealthy neighborhood in Michigan, where none of his neighbors are white. Schweizer also criticizes Moore for playing the stock market, and contributing to corporations that he claims are evil in his films. Schweizer writes, “Although Moore publicly claims that he doesn’t invest in the stock market, he privately tells the IRS something completely different . . .Moore has also invested in energy giants like Noble Energy, Schlumberger, Williams Companies, Transocean Sedco Forex, and Anadarko, all firms that “deplete irreplaceable fossil fuels in the name of profit,” as Moore puts it.”
Schweizer claims that Moore is a hypocrite on every level of what he is preaching in his documentaries. He is pointing out flaws in American corporations, lifestyles, and prejudices while contributing to them in his personal life. I have seen a couple of Michael Moore’s documentaries, and found them to be highly opinionated and redundant. He pounds his point into the viewer again and again, not elaborating upon much aside from how bad what he is railing against is. Having read this article on Moore’s hypocrisy in his daily life, I am even less interested in what he has to say through his films.

In the article, Working Class Hero the author speaks of Michael Moore as being a mixture of a smart authoritative figure but also a person like us. It talks about Moore's use of his authority to not just throw facts at the viewer to prove his claims but instead to enforce his persona on screen to get the audience to side with him in his arguments. The author claims that even with his limited understanding his persona gives the appearance of a lordly figure and portrays to the viewer that he is being extremely factual and believable. Moore nurses his distrust of people to get laughs out of the audience. He uses this humor to connect to the audience and show his disrespect of other authoritative figures. However, he does not take it so far as to cause the audience to distrust him. Instead, he carries an unexpected candor along with the tough exterior seen in the film. The author also talks of his anti-intellectualism. Moore brags of his own lack of education but in the film he combines his anti-intellectualism with seemingly innate wisdom. Moore was able to give the audience an upbeat ending without an optimistic narrative closure.

Michael Moore, Role Model

As someone who has naively never seem any films my Michael Moore, let me tell you, I’m not planning on it anytime soon. This article, “Michael Moore, Role Model” by Peter Schweizer, has done an exceptional job at quickly pointing out every flaw of Moore and his cynical view on the world in general. This article specifically focuses on racism which is apparently “rampant in america” according to Moore’s life philosophy. Moore seems to explicitly enjoy pointing out each and every one of americas flaws without turning around the magnifying glass and the pointer finger and examining his own flaws. The greatest example in this article is Moores own target, the only 5 percent of blacks in american journalism, however the journalists takes matters into his own hands and evaluates Moores crew of each of his film and quickly learns that Moore is well below his projected five percent in his own life. Also, Moore judges America as a whole on their supposed acceptance of african americans in their neighborhood yet looking at his own neighborhood there is not a single black resident. The final point of the article contains Moors supposed lack of involvement in that evil ploy of capitalism called the stock market. However, with his apparent, not that dedicated, non-profit he doesn’t follow his owl rule and ends up giving back to those very companies he blames for taking advantage of americans. The point of this article isn’t just to slam Michael Moore for being a hypocrite, there is a goal. And that goal consists of making sure the avid fans take the advice of Moore with consideration of what he believes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comments on article about Michael Moore

Qian Zhang

Artical:Working-Class Hero: Michael Moore’s Authorial Voice and Persona (LOUISE SPENCE)

This article discusses about Michael Moore’s persona through analyzing his ideas of authorial voice and persona in his documentaries. Basically, the author is in favor of the way Moore shoot film and how it presents to audience. In this sense, Moore lets the authority and power showing to the public and criticizes the seamy sides of authority. He has a strong sense of social responsibility and he is not fear of authority. The author comments that Moore would look at the public interests and show the real aspects of the events or figure. He is smart but when watching the documentaries, he gives the audience a sense seeming like he is unschooled. He tries various methods to get valuable records and footages for bring out the real facts and achieving his purpose. The author states that his anti-intellectualism contradicts values and points in contemporary society. One is paternalistic authority and the other is rugged delinquency. He uses irony in his documentary pointing out the crux of certain events or problems. Besides, Moore establishes his screen persona to convince audience and let viewers to favor his claims in the documentaries. The author contends that on the one hand Moore usually uses his humor and irony in the films to make fun of authority and on the other hand he would arouse social concern about the issue and forces viewers to rethink authority’s role in the whole documentary. ”Moore has a self-mocking tenor to his persona.” “He may be eccentric and weird, but never as eccentric or weird as the others he encounters. He gets a lot of laughs out of nursing his distrust of people in authority and with power” In other words, challenging authority and power has been an essential part or sign of his documentary which is a miniature of the voice of the masses.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hampe and Born into Brothels

Hampe’s opinions apply to Born into Brothels, because it is important the filmmakers must be conscience of the people they are filming and respect their wishes. The filmmaker has complete control on how a person is portrayed in a film, which gives them the power to depict a person in either a good or bad light. This puts the ethical responsibility on the documentarian to portray the individuals in the most accurate light they can.

It is a filmmaker’s job to present the truth but the viewers must remember what they are seeing is what the filmmakers portray as reality, which may not be the whole truth. There many people filmed in a negative light in the documentary and that was a choice made by Broiski and Kaufmann. The children’s mothers are shown more as mean spirited women that are very hard on their children. As an audience we don’t know if that is how these women act daily or that the film makers caught them at a bad time. We need to be aware of that fact and make sure we aren’t too quick to judge if we aren’t shown the entire truth.

Also as an audience we must remember that every person in the film may have not been asked to give permission to be in the film. In that way, they too may be shown in an uncharacteristically bad light. Though this is unfair and unethical it does occur and the audience must be aware of that fact and form their opinion of each person with that in mind.

Documentaries are made on many different subjects and while some are informational others try to oust the hidden truth. Viewers must be aware that the way people are shown in the film may contrast with their normal characteristics, it is the filmmaker’s perspective and that is something the audience needs to remember.

This article was mostly about decisions while make a documentary film, along with the ethics behind filming your subjects. According to Hampe, people need to know that if they don’t want to be recorded, don’t be in the film. He states that most film makers don’t really ask for the consent and are more likely to abide by the, if you stay, you consent rule. However they may have them at the start say that they are fine with being on tape. But people should think before they make a film because using others in the process can have unforeseen consequences. This is somewhat evident in Born into Brothels where we find out that the children are ridiculed and harassed in response to them being filmed and taking pictures throughout the red light district. Zana probably did not foresee this happening, but I think in hindsight it would be worth it for the good that it did the children. Long term consequences can come back to haunt the people if they decided to be used. I think this would come into effect with the child whose mother was burned by her pimp. Now at this time the kid is probably dealing with it the best he can, but what happens if he ever gets out of Calcutta and looks this video up? That will surely scare him as an adult to see how his family was portrayed. And worse, if he applies for a high position job, someone will surely look up his name and find this film online. You cannot say that won’t have an impact on his life. This film fits what the author of this calls journalistic objectivity where the makers of the documentary use highly politically and opinionated issues and ideas. However, Zana did not show both sides of the story evenly. In the case of the prostitutes, there was really only way to look at it though.

Born into Brothels and Hampe

In Hampe's article many different things were discussed for example, what you can do to a documentary. Hampe discussed how documentary's can be cut and edited. I think that Born into Brothels was ethical. It was a very moving and touching documentary. It made me feel sorry for the kids. It was upsetting at the end to see that a few of them are going off to school but then right after that they show you how far the children have really gone and only a few were able to change their lives. When I was watching it I wanted to see most of the kids succeed in changing there lifestyle and when I saw them leaving I was happy for them but then when I saw that many of them were pulled out by their family it upset me all over again. I think that this example fits to help prove Hampe's point of a ethical documentary.
Overall I believe that Hampe is trying to tell us what a ethical documentary is. Hampe talked about how no one would know "the other side" because the filmmakers will show you only their point of view. In some documentaries that may be true, I do believe that some and most of them focus on the point that they want to prove and what they want you to believe.

Born Into Brothels & Hampe

In “Ethics to Making a Documentary,” Hampe is concerned with the legal and ethical rights documentarians have in regards to the people they portray on film. He points out that filmmakers may not always get consent in the form of a signed release, and may sometimes be as informal as asking people to leave the room if they do not want to be filmed. The part that stood out to me the most was Hampe’s discussion about whether or not filmmakers personally care about the effects of their documentary on the people who are being filmed. In “Born into Brothels”, I would like to argue that Zana Brinski and Ross Kauffmann made the film solely for the possible effects it may have on the children portrayed. We cannot know what kind of consent they were given to film the children, but we can know that the after-effects of the film concerning the children were overwhelmingly positive. The documentary brought into many people’s consciousness the plight of the offspring of prostitutes in India’s red light districts, and the inevitability for many of them of turning to the same trade. For some of the children, such as Avijit, the project had more of a positive ending, with him able to attend a young photographer’s conference in Amsterdam. Some of the other children were enrolled in private schools stemming from the goodwill of outsiders after their situation was revealed. Overall, “Born into Brothels” was made for the benefit of the children, and the ethics of consent for them do not matter as much considering this fact.

Winter 367: Hampe Article

Hampe’s ethics to making a documentary vs Born into brothels

Hampe described many different scenarios that arrive from making a documentary. The main problem or outline of his view was what is acceptable in making a documentary and what isn’t. There was the question to how effective is making the participants in the document sign legal papers that confirm their right to be filmed. It seemed to be that there was no answer to what to do as a documentarian because sometimes signing the documents could hurt the film and sometimes it could make it better.
In Born into brothels this documentary was filmed by Zana Briski who was basically dealing with the entire red district. In her case from Hampe it is better to just confirm a signed document for the children and whoever is in the film was at fault of their own privacy. After the fact that the people in the documentary are secure in their privacy and the documentarian as well, Hampe looks at what should be done in a documentary that makes it legit. For example when Hampe links confusion with acuallity he explains how a film should be documented in actual situations. Born into brothels demonstrates every aspect of this throughout Zana’s quest.
The overall goal that Hampe is trying to conclude is to what makes a documentary good, safe, and legit at the same time. Born into brothels won many awards for this reason because it demonstrates all three of these characteristics that give it more power. Power not only to persuade audiences around the world but also to influence other people to do documentaries similar to this.

Hampe Article

In his article, “Ethics in Making a Documentary” Hampe discusses the relationship between a documentarian and those being filmed. There are legal rights that a person included in the filming of a documentary has, and the filmmaker is responsible for how he or she represents those involved. Despite what one may expect, it is not always typical for the people included in a documentary to fill out a release form allowing their images to be used however the filmmaker chooses. In many cases, such as the ambush type interviews done by Michael Moore, the individuals being filmed give no consent at all. This brings into question whether the documentarian is actually documenting truth or reality. Hampe defines this “Journalistic Objectivity” as “seeking to separate fact from opinion, assumption, and evaluation, and to make clear which is which.” Again the emphasis here is upon the decisions of the filmmaker, and the responsibility lies with them regarding what is seen in their films.

This is an interesting concept to think about in regard to Born Into Brothels, because Zana Briski enters the brothels and films a whole city of people. Briski becomes close with the children of the brothel, and films them and their families in a very intimate way. The lives, fights, sexual interactions, alcohol and drug use of these people are made public through Born Into Brothels. While Briski’s intent was to create awareness for the children forced to grow up in this environment, viewers may question the level of awareness that the people of the red light district had about their lives being seen around the world. This may be questioned not only in the visuals of the film, but also in the recorded conversations with the children, who may not have been aware of the impact upon their families and lives this documentary would have. I would be curious to find out whether or not these people did give Briski permission to make their private lives so public.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hampe and Born Into Brothels

In the introductory portion of the article Hampe asks what is or should be the relationship between the documentarian and the people who are being recorded, and what should the documentarian's responsibility to these people be.  In Born into Brothels, it is clear that Zana and her main subjects, the children, are very close, they call her Auntie Zana.  However, her relationship with the families of each of these children is not a friendly one.  Since she is so close with the kids, it is assumed that she will feel responsible for how they are showcased, and not want them to seem like they are bad people.  With the families, it could be assumed that she feels little to no responsibility for how they come across, and wants to show the audience that they are in fact bad.  Most of the scenes in which the families, mainly all adults, are shown, they come across as mean, almost hateful towards their children.
Based on the relationships between the documentarian and their subjects, the ethics of keeping them informed and aware of being on camera can be brought into question.  It is assumed that since the children loved Zana so much, she had their consent to film them, and for certain aspects of their lives to be shown to the world.  Since she was likely not as well liked by the families, she may not have informed them of how their image could be damaged if they were filmed yelling and swearing at their children, but, as Hampe includes in his article, perhaps even Zana was not aware of what she would catch on camera, and what affect it could really have on everyone's lives.  So, it is difficult to try to question if Zana was ethical in getting consent from all of the film's participants without seeing or hearing it from them firsthand.

“Ethics in Making a Documentary,”

“Ethics in Making a Documentary,”discusses how producers of a documentary need to take the subjects filmed into consideration. As he explains, often times people willingly agree to appear on camera, without the use of signed release papers. Although there are laws that help others keep their unwanted footage released, many times these things go unnoticed. Born into Brothels can easily relate to this topic. It is highly likely that everyone shot in the documentary, which is now seen by thousands of people, signed a form a consent to be filmed and released to the public. However, how could you produce a successful documentary about the lives of people in the Red Light District without capturing it in full effect?

Although in some cases it is necessary for the producer to get the footage you need without taking into consideration the subjects filmed, many times it just seems unethical. Had the parents of the children not wanted to be filmed, it is likely they would have had little say in it regardless. However, if they did not want to be filmed, you would think they would simply keep quiet. Perhaps they were not informed on the plan of posting the film to the public. Overall, although there are some instances the producers are wrong in releasing their footage without consent, the author of this article correctly explains that in many cases, the blame should be on the subjects for speaking to the camera in the first place.

Comments on Hampe's article

Qian Zhang

The author Hampe mainly talks about ethnics in making a documentary. Hampe states that some documentarians record the subject’s verbal consent at the beginning of shooting, which means documentarians would ask the subjects if they willing to be recorded and show respect to the people who would appear in the documentary, avoiding invade their privacy. This point applies to documentary Born into Brothel, the filmmaker Zana spent approximately five years to completing filming, before shooting this documentary, filmmaker Zana took a long period of time to get acquainted with the eight children and make friends with them so that the children would tell Zana the stories about themselves and willing to taking pictures and hanging out with Zana. In this sense, filmmakers could touch their inner life and real opinions on the world and life. Besides, in the article, Pryluck contends that when using people in sequences filmmakers put them at risk without considering their potential hazards and did not recognize which of their actions would hurt other people. Similarly, Hampe states that quite often producers have no way of foreseeing the way when the film comes out. It reflects some aspects of the social significance of the documentary born into brothel. There is a scene shocking the audience and very impressive, Avijit’s mother was burned to death by pimp in the kitchen. It is not difficult imaging that when Avijit grows up and watch the documentary again, he will be deeply anguished and because the scene is presented to the public, it will bring psychological injury to him and hurt his dignity. Perhaps the filmmakers merely want to represent how miserable the kids’ lives are and their tragic experience, however, they are unaware of the potential hazard it brings to the kids, even the people who had the same situation ever. As the statements the author argues, the documentarians should downplay the possible risk to the participants and heighten the awareness of the actions’ ethnics implications.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Supersize Me

The movie Supersize Me is trying to persuade the viewer that McDonald's is a leading cause to the obesity of America. In the movie Morgan Spurlock experiments by only eating McDonald's every day for thirty days. That is the main tactic he uses to show the audience what harmful things eating all that food can do to the body. Through the process of thirty days his weight gain and unhealthiness become proof of what can happen if to much McDonald's is eaten.

They film is also filled with interviews with McDonald's lovers who range from skinny to obese. As well as interviews with doctors and health specialists who help substantiate the evidence being shown. They repeated tell him to eat healthier or stop altogether but he ignores their warnings to finish the documentary. The film also focuses on the effects that the fast food industry has on children. It depicts a trend in obesity in American youth. It blames it on McDonald's and its appeal to children, through toys and characters, like Ronald McDonald, to sell its products. In a shocking scene children who cannot name Jesus when shown a picture, can name Ronald McDonald.

He also uses other visuals to describe how bad McDonald's food can be. In one shot he shows bags upon bags of sugar detailing how much sugar he ate over the thirty day experiment. He also holds up a jar of meat to describe how much fat he ingested.

A disgusting scene in the film is of a man getting surgery to make a his stomach smaller, because he is to obese. This is shown to help drive home the truth of what all the fatty foods we eat can do to us.

The film is an interesting documentary that uses, at times, outrageous tactics to prove their belief that McDonald's is fueling America's obesity. The documentary is very convincing with all the evidence presented but only touches on the subject of should a company be held responsible for over weight customers or should the customers take responsibility for what made them obese.

The goal of the film is accomplished by making the viewer really think about what they are eating and how they can make healthier choices in their own lives.

Born into Brothels

The most persuasive aspect of the Born into Brothels documentary was the personal interviews with the children inquiring into their lives. The theme of the film was based on the everyday hardships the children faced and through personal conversations. The filmmakers made the film more real and believable because they use subtitles in the film. Because of this the audience was still able to hear the child’s voice, not another person’s voice doing the translating. This aspect made the film more personal and the viewer had more empathy towards the children’s plight. The audience was able to see and hear from the child, the conditions of everyday life.

It was sad to see the poverty the children lived in and could not escape. It was sad to know that most of the girls the audience learned about would be forced into prostitution. Without an education, all those children would stay in the vicious cycle of life their own parents were stuck in.

The different stills that were taken by the filmmaker and the children were also a persuasive part of the film. In addition the black and white stills added realism because the viewer did not focus on the color but what was occurring in the picture. It was another way to view the photographs and helps to create a different response in the eyes of the viewers. These stills revealed the hardships the children lived in as well as showing that children can still be children even in chaos. In addition each picture can be regarded as a pathway into the mind of the child that snapped the photograph. We can see what they saw and even realize from their perspective their point for taking the photograph. It was remarkable to see the different and unique shots each child took. It was interesting as well that the film individually highlighted the life of each child so the viewers got a sense of the different happenings of each child.

The documentary was very interesting but sad as well. It is difficult to see the hardships the children face in their everyday life and to know that most won’t escape that poverty.

Winter 367: Rhetorical Tactics in Born into Brothels....

Born Into Brothels

Born into brothels is a documentary that is put together and filmed not only by the director Zana Briski, but also by the kids in India. Zana Briski wanted to teach a class that revolved around the details photography and the children had to perform specific task each day with the cameras. One of the many tasks that these students had to perform was to go around the district and take photos of whatever interested them. This particular assignment played a big role in how Briski wanted to get her message across because it showed their everyday lifestyle in reality. The children being documented live in Kolkata, India and have a unique lifestyle that was more then attractive to Briski. This was a major rhetorical persuasive tactic that she used.
As Zana developed her relationship with the kids and throughout the whole documentary she used a variety of pathos skills to persuade the audience. One of the main tactics she used was when she introduced a new child to the viewer she gave a quick background of their family and nothing was positive. The fact that there were no positive family background for neither child whether it was death of a parent, no parent, prostitution, or no family at all, it served a major purpose into persuading the viewer. Everyone has a heart for kids so when we, as an audience witness this in a personal stand point it makes one think more in detail about how much more disadvantaged these kids are.
The overall structure of the documentary was very detailed into a pathos point of view. Throughout the entire video I really didn’t need any facts or statistics to persuade my emotions toward this because the stories alone and the everyday lifestyle sold me and made me realize how bad of a life people may live and how we as Americans take life for granted.

Born Into Brothels

Born Into Brothels documents the lives of children growing up in the red light district of Kolkata, India. One of the writers and directors of the film, Zana Briski, visits to photograph the women in the brothels, and becomes close to their children. Throughout the film Briski offers viewers an intimate look at the people living in the red light district. She is able to do so by teaching the children photography and actually living in their community. The photographs the children take become a central part of the documentary itself, and enable Briski to present her opinion and message more poignantly to the viewer.

Shots of the children are followed by sequences of the photos they have taken. This creates a personal atmosphere, as if the viewer is getting a closer look at the children and how they view the world. This also enables the viewer to see places a film crew may not have been able to go, such as within the rooms of the brothels and homes. Another reason Briski may have chosen to use so much imagery from the children’s perspective is to evoke sympathy from the viewer. Children are presented as helpless, stuck in the situations they were born into as much as the caged animals that appear throughout the film. These children are old enough to know that a future of drugs, prostitution, and violence is likely, but young enough that they may still be able to escape.

Along with documenting the lives of the women and children in the brothels, Briski wants to help these children somehow escape their environment. She takes them on trips to the zoo and ocean, teaches them photography, and ultimately tries to find boarding schools that will admit them. Much of the film focuses on her efforts to help bring these children a better life. This is also seen when she returns to Manhattan and sells their artwork for money to help and make people aware of their situation. In these ways, Briski is appealing to the viewer’s emotions in order to inform them and to gain their compassion.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rhetorical Tactics of Born Into Brothels

The most useful rhetorical tactic used in Born into Brothels was, in my mind, sequencing. In terms of rhetorical appeals, pathos is probably the most effective, causing the viewer to feel sympathy for the children, and at the same time, disgust because their lives and families are so terrible. The film opens showing just a bare light bulb, with bugs flying around it. It then alternates between showing close-ups of the children's eyes, and scenes of their hometown of the Red Light District. Their eyes seem to look sad, like they have no hope, and after seeing where they live, it is not a surprise. The next important example of sequencing is when the first girl, Kochi, is being interviewed and talks about the other women asking her when she is going to join the line. From there, pictures of women on the line are shown. This is a very effective order for the movie. You feel so sad, that this innocent little girl, might one day end up living as these other women do. Many other examples of sequencing can be found throughout this documentary. The filmmakers wanted to show the children being happy, if only for a moment, and then went on to show their fear of how they were essentially doomed to live unhappy lives forever. The whole film tugs at the heart of the audience, and the inclusion of the juxtaposition of such happiness with extreme despair, makes it so much more emotional for all who watch.

Born into brothels

Born into Brothels, created by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski seeks to inform others about the harsh realities in the red light districts of Calcutta. The producers of this film reveal a true story with a very effective pathos tactic. The beginning of this film plays very sad music and a slow picture as they record the everyday lives of the people living in this small area. You can tell the people live in complete chaos within the first minute of the documentary. It was very emotionally heartbreaking to watch the way these children were forced to live their lives. Zana introduces some of the children, which is one approach used to make their lives more personal to us. We learn their names, their families, and even their most passionate dreams. Each child tells of their painful lives growing up in the brothels. Their stories make you realize how much we take our lives in America for granted. Here we complain about the car in front of us driving too slow, or having to go to the dentist; in the brothels their only hope is to somehow escape. Escape the expected life-style of abuse, drugs, and prostitution. As one young girl, Kochi explains, her future is set to soon “join the line,” of prostitution in their family. These children have little to no say in how they choose to live their lives, and Zana “Auntie” makes that very clear in her film.

One of the most effective ways Zana uses pathos is by filming the children of the brothels in their everyday setting. The way the parents talk to their young children makes you not only sad, but almost angry and disgusted. Puja, a young boy of the brothels, tells of his sisters’ high likeliness of ending up as their mother, doing drugs and prostitution. Another young girl even shares that her father tried to sell her at one point.

Although the majority of this film is very heartbreaking, Zana also uses humor. I believe this was a successful tactic to use in this film particularly because it is so depressing. For example, when Avajit is attempting to ice skate when he goes on his trip to Amsterdam, you cannot help but smile. Another example is when Tapasi states, “even if I was poor, I would have a happy life.” Their astonishing optimism under their horrible conditions is very shocking to the audience, but nonetheless makes it a little less painful to watch the film. Overall, this documentary is extremely touching, and I believe it persuades the viewer exactly how the producers hoped it would.