SPECTATORSHIP REVISION 4 – The Imposter Micro Analysis

As with Grizzly Man you should now do the same for 3 (or 4 as they’re shorter) of the following sequences from The Imposter:

  1. Missing Boy: 00:00:16 – 00:05:30
  2. No Other Way: 00:27:20 – 00:30:54
  3. Going to School: 01:02:00 – 01:08:00
  4. They Killed Him: 01:08:00 – 01:14:30
  5. Frederic Bourdin: 01:17:00 – 01:22:08
  6. Digging: 01:27:24 – 01:31:45

Remember in your analysis you need to consider micro features & specific terms:

  • mise-en-scene
  • cinematography
  • sound
  • performance
  • editing


SPECTATORSHIP REVISION 3 – Grizzly Man Micro Analysis

When studying Grizzly Man we did some textual analysis in small groups. Which can be found below. But, for your exam it is important that you can talk about multiple scenes and not just be an expert on one.

You should select 3 scenes that you will re-watch and read over the analysis that has been completed so far by both classes.

You should then create your own document and for each of your 3 selected scenes try to include one micro example from each micro feature as well as evidence of at least one documentary convention.

Everyone revises in different ways – so you pick what is going to be best for your notes & best to help you learn the information.

Remember the examples are absolutely key to evidencing your ideas/ points & getting in that film specific language. The important thing is that you have a range of specific examples at your finger tips that you can apply to whatever question arises.

  • Herzog’s Agenda: (00.00 – 05.46) (Miss Hales) (Mr Gregson)
  • Herzog defends Treadwell as a film maker (22.37 – 26.06) (H) (G)
  • The camera as confessional (39.54 – 46.17) (H) (G)
  • Herzog’s verdict – farewell to Treadwell (1.36.45 – 1.44.05) (H) (G)

Here is a link to the film.


Task 1: Why are documentaries made?

  • Why do audiences watch films?
  • Why do they watch documentary films?
  • What does an audience seek from a documentary film?

Task 2: What are the key issues we are faced with when watching documentaries? 

Discuss the key issues as a class and consider how you could debate these in an exam essay. Put your ideas on a post it note & stick to the board.

In small groups develop a hand made poster to consider how the following macro ideas create issues for the spectator in a documentary film. Particularly reflect on ideas of truth & persuasion or the trust in the documentary film maker. Remember to add any macro terms you use to your glossary.

Try to think of those ‘so what’s’ those ‘points’ those elements of ‘significance’ rather than considering the specific examples at this stage. What questions would you ask about these macro elements? What challenges do they present for an audience?

The pre reading post of helpful articles & videos may help you with some of the overarching ideas.

Task 3: What are the different ways in which the audience might be positioned with a documentary film? 

Consider the idea of the ‘present’/ ‘distant’ positioning and how Imposter / Grizzly Man fit into these. Add these terms to your glossary

SPECTATORSHIP REVISION 1 – Documentary Conventions / Modes & Terms

Task 1: What is a Documentary? 

Define documentary & the intended audience response to a documentary.

What is meant by the phrase ‘the creative treatment of actuality’? & who said it?

Task 2: How can we recognise a documentary? 

What do we expect to see in a documentary film? What are the key conventions/ repertoire of elements?

As a class create a mindmap of the key conventions & repertoire of elements.

From this mindmap draw up a list of conventions with a key example from Grizzly Man and/or The Imposter to evidence where you can see this convention in our chosen films. Divide & Conquer to create a class revision overview.

Task 3: What different types or modes of Documentary are there?

Recap the modes of documentary

In Pairs consider Grizzly Man / The Imposter and what mode these are and give examples of why you think this. Relay your thoughts with the class and finalise decisions.

Task 4: What terminology should I use to discuss Documentary Films? 

Refine your key conventions list to create a glossary of terms including definitions that you will use in your spectatorship / documentary essays.

Peer & Self Assessment

Here is a previous students Critical Reception Essay. It’s got some great bits in it – but it is by no means perfect.

Using our new STEAQ assessment you are going to peer assess this essay using this document. Consider what the student has done well and what they could have developed. Remember that the quote will count as part of the ‘point’ that you are making and you should have additional micro examples from the film to back up your ideas.

Using the assessment document tally up a mark out of 15 that you would give the essay and give 2 specific areas for development.

  • Green (awesome) = 3 points
  • Yellow (pretty good) = 2 points
  • Orange (erm, it’s ok) = 1 point
  • Red (where is this) = 0 points

You should then discuss this with your neighbour to see what they put and why.

Now you are going to use the same document to self assess your Critical Reception essays before submitting them to your teacher.

You should indicate where on each element you think you have achieved and then at the bottom of your essay give yourself a mark out of 15 & 2 specific targets  for your next essay.



Critical Reception

Here is the final essay on Vertigo (1958) Hitchcock.

‘With reference to critical writing and reviews you have considered as part of your study, discuss how your ideas on your chosen film have developed.’

We know that something very similar to this is going to crop up in the exam and it’s a really good bet to go for rather than the film specific essay. However you do need to reference critical writing and reviews, so it is essential you have quotes and are able to credit the author. You should certainly use the Robin Woods from Hitchcock Film Revisited (1965) and quote or paraphrase some of his ideas about the film, which are below. You should also use some of the quotes / ideas from the range of reviews we read in class.


Read one review / essay in this folder and complete a slide of notes on what you have read in the slideshow below.

Hitchcock’s Film revisited by Robin Wood

These quotes from his essay on Vertigo would be useful in addition to the reviews you have looked at.

Reflect on these quotes and choose some which you think resonate most closely with your reading of the film.


Create your own slide show of quotes (5-8), to use in an essay on critical approaches or indeed any essay on Vertigo. You should include what arguments you are going to make and the examples you would use to explain the quote and your other ideas that spring from it.

Vertigo Thematic Essays

Here are the slide shows for the thematic essays on Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

‘Vertigo is a challenging exploration of the male fantasy.’ How far do you agree with this view?

 How far do you agree that Vertigo is, to a significant extent, a film about control?

Identify and discuss three elements of Vertigo which, in your view, contribute to the sense of strangeness the film conveys.

Explore the importance of narrative structure in the development of key themes and ideas in Vertigo

In Vertigo death is represented as being simultaneously attractive and frightening. How is this evident in the cinematic style of Vertigo?

‘The representation of women in Vertigo demonstrates how far this is a film by a man for men.’ How far do you agree?

Explore some of the ways in which Hitchcock attempts to manage the audience response to Scottie as the narrative of Vertigo unfolds.