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Introduction • The Battle of Orgreave was a re-enactment of a brutal battle between police and miners on the 18th of June 1984 at a coking plant near Sheffield, the original re-enactment was set up by a turner prize winner Jeremy Deller and then documented by mike Figgis
The Battle of Orgreave’s is different to many other documentaries as it is a “record of the process of re-enactment.”(Ward, 2005) also the fact that the filming is so real and close to the action, for example we see collisions with “police” and miners, rocks thrown and skulls cracked, however we also see shots of “battle” linked together with spoken word from miners fighting at the actual re-enactment that were actually fighting at the Battle of Orgreave's
Paul ward describes the interspersed shots between miners fighting and miners talking by saying, “this both intensifies and undercuts the power of the battle scenes: undercuts in the sense that it clearly demonstrates that these people are performing, (re-en) acting; intensifies because there is an active reflection on the process of performance itself, how the re-enactment ‘measures up’ to the actual historical events.”
Paul ward also says that “the Battle of Orgreave is an extremely interesting variation on the “Per formative” mode of documentary due to the fact that it raises questions about knowledge , tries to demonstrate how understanding such personal knowledge can help us understand more general processes of society and may mix elements of various documentary modes. (julien, Riggs)
Paul Ward also looks at what Nichols has to say about re-enactment and the use of spoken testimony, as we see in Orgreave's. Nichols says that “Spoken testimony's indexical anchorage in the present moment of recounting is also where motivation and purpose for a particular story of “what happened” takes root. With skill and effort, the pressure of the past and present moments of recounting can become as much a subject of the story as history recounted.”(Nichols,B)
Ward also looks at what Nichols sees as a problem in re-enactment. “This presents the threat of disembodiment; the camera records those we see on screen, but these figures are also ghosts of others who have already acted out their parts,”(Nichols,B) ward sums this up by saying “what we actually watch during any documentary that has deliberately re-enacted scenes from history is something that is clearly divorced from what it represents.” (ward)
Another theory is described by john corner and this is the documentary drama or dramatised documentary, we believe that Orgreave is a dramatised documentary due to the fact that it begins with a documentary base or core and dramatisation to overcome certain limitations and to achieve a more broadly popular imaginatively effect (Corner,J)
Cathy Come Home • Cathy Come Home was the ground-breaking British drama that aired in 1966 • It focused on a young woman called Cathy, struggling to find a suitable home for her family of three children and her husband • It highlighted the housing problems in the UK.
IMPACT AND REACTION • 12 million people watched Cathy Come Home. This was a quarter of the British television viewers • It is believed to have helped in the awareness of homelessness, mothers keeping their children and the change in the law for housing in the UK. • It came second in the 100 greatest British television programmes by BFI
References : • Ward, Paul,2005.The Margins Of Reality. Wallflower Press • Nichols, Bill, 1995. Blurred Boundaries. Indiana Press • www.bfi.org.uk