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Documentary Analysis: Bowling for Columbine

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Julianna S.
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  1. The cartoon he includes about the history of America is blatantly a satirical cartoon that bluntly states what happened in a way that may make some people laugh, but in the end, the audience is left realizing the absurdity of their own history.
  2. This idea of persuading the audience through indirect methods is something Coles recognizes as a tool to deliver a message.
  3. On the other hand, the documentarians who created Brother's Keeper are never seen throughout the entire film.
  4. Presentation of information can change the meaning or purpose of any documentary.
  5. Both of these documentaries serve purposes that Coles is sure to point out in his essay.
  6. Williams said, ?Take your readers in hand, take them where you've been, tell them what you've seen, give them some stories you have heard. Most of all, write for them?

In the documentaries Bowling for Columbine and Brother's Keeper the filmmakers try to establish certain connections to the audience. Bowling for Columbine focuses on gun control and violence in America. Director Michael Moore uses satire and direct points to get his message across. Brother's Keeper is a film about a man named Delbert who is accused of murdering his older brother. The creators of Brother's Keeper use emotional connections in a more subtle approach than Moore as they present their information. Moore is an active part and main character of his documentary, whereas Brother's Keeper never shows the documentarians or any connection they may have to their subject. Moore is clear on his opinions about gun control but he leaves the root reason for extensive violence in America open for interpretation, which is similar to Brother's Keeper in that the audience has the opportunity to form their own opinion in terms of what really happened. Documentarians such as the creators of Bowling for Columbine and Brother's Keeper use different methods to achieve their particular purpose, but both would be considered documentaries by Robert Coles, who analyzes works as documentaries and finds their purpose.

[...] His whole documentary is basically about fear, so for him to be afraid to get in front of the camera where all the guns are would make it difficult for him to even talk about this. He is trying to show that it is about time people stopped ignoring such problems and started figuring out what the causes are by showing the audience firsthand the approach he personally took in dealing with this issue. On the other hand, the documentarians who created Brother's Keeper are never seen throughout the entire film. [...]


[...] In Brother's Keeper the documentarians are the observers, but in Bowling for Columbine the documentarian is the one being observed. Sometimes a person can fill both roles, depending on the ?relation of the watcher to the watched, of the one listening to those who fill his ears with words? (Coles 210). Moore crosses this line as the watcher who is being watched. Most of the time documentarians remain as watchers like in Brother's Keeper, but Moore goes out to find the ?social illness? as William Carlos Williams would say (Coles 211). [...]

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