Documentary filmmakers seek to engage audiences in films that depict aspects of “the real.” As such, documentary films work with audience expectations and assumptions to persuade or reveal. Documentary depictions raise important questions about the nature of truth and representation as well as the social practice of film. As filmmaker and theoretician Jill Godmilow rhetorically asks, “How Real is the Reality in Documentary?” In this course, we will examine a cross section of key films in order to trace the aesthetic and thematic development of the documentary film. As we study various documentary forms, we will examine changes in the relationship between filmmaker, documentary subject, and audience, and the ethical considerations in these relationships that documentary practice presents. What cinematic styles have come to be associated with documentary films? How and why have they evolved? What is the ‘voice’ of documentary? How do documentaries persuade viewers? Documentary films will serve as the primary texts in this course, and we will gain perspective on them with critical and theoretical readings that address and analyze the documentary practices in each. Instructional methods will include lectures, discussions, readings, presentations, writing assignments, and examinations. This course may be used to satisfy an elective requirement for the English major. Satisfies a requirement for a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies. Prerequisite: TFMS 220, 221, or consent of the instructor.