I am human, this made me sleepy

Fredrick Nietzsche documentry – Human All to Human

The documentary follows a stereotypical approach to the genre and does little more than give a biography of Nietzsche, interjected with opinions from experts which include that of Mandfred Ewart who reads from Nietzsches school report.

Visually the documentary does little to engage the viewer, failing to take advantage of the medium of moving image, it is instead a series of cliched footage. This leaves the viewer able to fully engage with the documentary with eyes closed, apart from when there are subtitles for the foreign languages.  This has left me questioning why the structure of the documentary has not been developed here. Has this been deliberatly done in order to let the context be the focal point of the documentary or is the BBC merely giving the audience what they have come to expect.

The oral structure of this film consists of a voice as Nietzsche and the main narrator, and a further interchanges with different voices discussing Nietzsche.  Though the documentry is auditory stimulating through the use of a variety of voices including foreign language it could carry as an audio piece, as if the visuals were removed nothing would be lost.

The film sequences are typical of a documentary, for instance the panning across the townscape and through the derelict church which are only vaguely appropriate, and after time become soporific.  These are interlaced with the shots of various archivists, biographers etc discussing Nietzsche in the setting of their studies or living room.  To complete the documentary format there is the use of the Ken Burns effect; the panning across/ zooming in or out of photographs.

After being disappointed with the use of the tired documentary structure, the film has inspired me to start exploring documentary film makers

I looked at the UP series, time lapse documentaries by Micheal Apted.

Nick Broomfield, who has documentries include; Kurt and Courtney, Biggie and Tupac.  One of my favourites of his is Too white for me a documentary set in South Africa, in which Broomfield is seen on the film and his presence goes beyond that of just a narrative voice, he becomes integral to the documentary and engages with Chicco Twala the subject of the documentary, which provides a close up perspective.


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