an inconvenient truth. NQ Higher Media Studies Media Analysis (Non-fiction). www.LTScotland.org.uk/sustainabledevelopment/ climatechange. Key Aspects of Media Studies. TEXT CATEGORIES medium, purpose, form, genre, style, tone LANGUAGE technical and cultural codes, anchorage NARRATIVE
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an inconvenient truth
NQ Higher Media Studies
Media Analysis (Non-fiction)
‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was conceived as a film to be experienced collectively in the cinema. In the USA films are rated by MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America, www.mpaa.org).
The film is also distributed via
Spin-off products include:
Q. Which of these purposes do you think motivated the makers of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’? Use evidence from the film to justify each of your answers.
Q. Of these purposes which one do you think was most important? Use evidence from the text to justify your answer.
Typical documentary forms are:
Q. What is the form of the text? Justify your answer.
Q. What is meant by actuality?
Q. Think of the phrase ‘creative treatment’. List ways in which documentary makers can treat real events in a creative manner.
Q. Is it possible to capture the ‘real’ world on film?
Q. Do you think it is ethical to stage real events in a documentary?
Q. In recent years there has been an explosion of ‘reality television’. What is meant by this term? What different kinds of reality television have you seen on television?
Q. What kind of documentary is ‘An Inconvenient Truth’?
Q.What is the conventional look of documentary? In other words, how does the documentary look connote realism?
Q.How does sound connote realism?
Q.Do you think ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is a typical documentary. Why?
Q.Does it use any techniques which are similar to fiction films?
Q. Identify different tones in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. What are the purposes of these different tones? Identify how these tones achieved are achieved through images, sound and voice.
Q. Analyse a sequence in terms of technical codes. Why have these codes been used?
Q. What visual and audio material has been used to construct the vignettes?
Q. What visual and audio material has been used to construct the lecture segments?
Q. In the vignettes we learn about Al Gore’s past. What technical codes are used to connote the past?
Q. What cultural codes are used to connote authority?
Q.Analyse the opening sequence to show how images and sound/music construct meaning and mood.
Q. Repeat this for some other sequences.
Director Davis Guggenheim’s favourite shot which occurs in the last sequence of the film when Al Gore appears silhouetted by an satellite image of Hurricane Katrina.
Q. What do you think Guggenheim was trying to say to the audience with this image?
Q.Would it have been a better idea just to film the lecture?
Q. What stories does ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ tell?
Q. How does it categorise the information it seeks to convey?
Q. Study the lecture segments in the narrative segmentation. Does it conform to the typical structure of rhetorical form? Summarise the structure of the argument in the film. Work out the time given to each stage of the argument.
Q. The film juxtaposes biographical and reflective vignettes with lecture segments. Choose some of these juxtaposed sequences and analyse what links are being suggested by the film.
Typical features of rhetorical narrative are that it:
Q. Identify how ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ uses each of these features to advance its argument.
Q.Do you think that these arguments are valid? Justify your answers,
Q. What are major enigmas are posed in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’? Are these enigmas resolved by the end of the film?
Q. How has director Davis Guggenheim used these fictional techniques to structure the film?
Q. Another aspect of American ideology is its ‘can-do spirit’. How does the film reflect this spirit?
Q.Which of these discourses are expressed in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’?
Q. ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is aimed primarily at a US market. What evidence is there for this in the film?
Q. What might put people off going to see the film?
Q. What steps have been made in the film to broaden its appeal?
The film uses various modes of address:
Q. Identify sequences in the film which make an emotional appeal.
Q. Identify sequences in the film which use rational argument.
Q. Use the web to find out different reactions to the form and style ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Comments can be found at www.imdb.com.
Q. Use the web to find critiques of the science in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. What criteria do you think should be used to evaluate the credibility of such claims?
Q.What do you think about Gore’s argument? Why?
Q.Film productions often involve conflict between producers providing funds and the creative personnel actually making the film. Listen to the producers’ commentary on the DVD and assess whether the production of the film was characterised by conflict or unity.
Q. Analyse the poster as follows:
Draw a table with two columns headed denotation and connotation.
In the denotation column describe the images and text (title and taglines).
In the connotation column write down the connotations of each element.
Write down the overall meaning of the poster by completing this sentence “See this film and …”
Q. Repeat the previous exercise for this poster.
Q.Why do you think penguins are used in the poster when they do not feature in the film?
Q. What parts of the film might the MPAA ratings board thought of as being unsuitable for children?
Q. Davis Guggenheim used prosumer digital video cameras to shoot Gore at work or travelling. What are the advantages of this for such shots?
Q. The film only took 6 months to make. What advantages does digital editing have over traditional film editing?
Q. Do you think that ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ has influenced how people see and act on climate change?