Contemporary Documentary


a) To understand and critically define cinema and its language as a field of studies, and within it the specificity of non-fiction film /Documentary as an expression with its own identity: Documentary Film as a genre of cinema;

b) To understand and define Documentary as an Historical movement connected with the ideas of Authenticity and Truth;

c)  To stimulate ways of seeing: the use of different strategies and cinematographic dispositifs in Documentary filmmaking;

d) To understand and analyse the artistic, cultural and political contexts associated with Non-fictional Film;

e) To experiment the practice of developing a Documentary project: Production, Research, Directing.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Pedro Miguel Ferreira Florêncio


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 280

Teaching language



Not applicable.


  • AUSTIN, T. and JONG, W. 2009, Rethinking Documentary. New Perspectives, New Practices, Open University Press;
  • BERREBI, Sophie, 2014, The Shape of Evidence. Contemporary Art and the Document. Ed. Valiz, Amsterdam;
  • BARBOSA, Andréa (et al.) (orgs), 2009, Imagem-conhecimento. Antropologia, Cinema e outros diálogos, Papirus Editora. Rio de Janeiro;
  • CLIFFORD, J and MARCUS, G. 1986, Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. California University Press;
  • MACDOUGALL, David, 2006, The Corporeal Image. Film, Ethnography and the Senses, Princeton and Oxford. Princeton University Press;
  • NICHOLS, Bill, 2016, Speaking Truths with Film. Evidence, Ethics, Politics in Documentary, University California Press;
  • ROSENTHAL, Alan (ed) / CORNER, John (ed), 2005, New Challenges for Documentary, Manchester, Manchester University Press;
  • WINSTON, Brian, (et al.), 2017, The Act of Documenting. Documentary Film in the 21st Century. Bloomsbury.

Teaching method

The methodologies include exposition and presentation of the uc contents confronted with film excerts that will be collectivelly discussed.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Criticism / analysis of a film or director.(20%), Participation in the class.(20%), Written essay.(60%)

Subject matter

1) The genesis and development of Documentary Film as a genre: the ethnographic, experimental, sociological, auto-biographical and etnofiction forms of filmmaking. Styles and modalities in Creative Documentary film;

2) Questions of subjectivity and authorship: the place of the camera, sound and editing, spetially in the 1960's styles of cinéma vérite and the american direct film: the place of observational cinema;

3) Different tendencies of Documentary Film: France, England, Germany, EUA. The portuguese case;

4) Contemporary Documentary: modalities, discoursive strategies and styles;

5) The practice of Creative Documentary Filmmaking: the idea and its development, personal motivation, the writing, editing and post-production.