Science, Environment and Health
Documentaries can uncover the hidden secrets of the natural world and reveal the beauty of our surroundings. They can also explore the environmental issues and show the human dimensions of medical science.
Films under this theme are Beyond the Naked Eye (1973), A Day in the National Parks (1978), The Dikes (1955), Emergence of a Dragonfly (1960), Octopus Hunt (1966), Out of Silence (1971), Reflections on Suffering (1982), Rural Health (1946), 23 Skidoo (1964) and The Winds of Fogo (1969). These films demonstrate a range of filmmaking techniques and technical innovations, as well as a variety of documentary treatments of scientific, environmental, medical and health issues. The What to Watch For section of About The Film offers specific questions about each excerpt.
1. The films in this category take different approaches to their subjects.
- Discuss how documentary films may have different primary intentions. For these films, some: teach specific points or inform the audience about their subject; others aim to develop an appreciation or sense of wonder; others raise issues; and some pose puzzling questions and leave the audience to reach conclusions.
- Have students list the excerpts under these categories and explain why they have sorted them in this way.
- Discuss which films they thought were most interesting and why. Discuss how the different films might be used, where they might be shown, and who would be the audiences for each.
2. One of the attractions of documentary films is that they can show us something that we could not see otherwise.
- How does each of these films provide a unique picture on the world? Remember that a documentary might show unique viewpoints and ideas, as well as places.
- What technical innovations allowed some of them to explore 'new' territory?
- What new ways of understanding the world are introduced in some?