• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comparing Aileen - Life and Death of a Serial Killer & When We Were Kings

Free essay example:

Media Studies AS

Comparing Aileen - Life and Death of a Serial Killer & When We Were Kings

“Aileen – Life and Death of a serial killer” - this is Nick Broomfield's second documentary on Aileen Carol Wuornos, a highway prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing seven men in the state of Florida.

“When We Were Kings” - A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship belt in Zaire, between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

The documentary about Aileen Wuornos (Aileen – the life and death of a serial killer) brings us to believe that Aileen suffers from borderline personality disorder, which brings an overwhelming fear of abandonment. When that fear escalated, it could well have been the trigger for what Aileen called her "killing days."  This disorder would be what drove her to kill. Nick Broomfield (the director) delves into the depths of Aileen’s childhood, portraying that her childhood is most likely what started her into the life she led. As we explore her childhood further we understand that from the time she was a young girl she was trouble.  Aileen did poorly in school and was promiscuous before even becoming a teenager. 

Shockingly we find out that she was pregnant by the age of 14 and was sent away to an unwed mother’s home. Her son was then adopted in 1971. She was portrayed to be a sick and perhaps mentally un-stable person, making claims such as that she had sex with her brother at a young age. As the documentary continues we learn that Aileen never held a steady job, she simply prostituted herself out to men to make money. Then we discover that she meets   Selby (a young lesbian or perhaps bi-sexual girl), and formed a loving relationship with her. 

She always feared abandonment when with Selby.  She always feared that Selby would leave her and she would be alone again.  Around these times when she felt that her and Selby’s relationship was rocky was when most of the murders happened.  She took out her rage on the men she killed. 

            Most of Aileen’s abnormalities run into her personality because they were practically one and the same.  Her personality of being an anti social loner, with her rage perhaps against men, drove her into the life she led.  She was most likely not gay, but was definitely bisexual, although she did have a hatred of men.

 Aileen often had outbursts of rage. This was proven in the courtroom when she, on a few occasions, had snapped and screamed and swore not only at the judge, but also at the jury.  The documentary leads us through the life of Aileen Wuornos, how she once lived, and the actions that she pursued and right up to the day she was executed, this was presented to us in a start-to-finish type documentary.

The documentary about the Muhammad Ali/George Forman heavyweight "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match is a wonderful insight into window of the past. By nature, however, it is not a motion picture of any particular depth, nor is it intended to be. Although the documentary touches on issues of racism and nationalism as necessary background elements, it does not delve far beneath the surface, this is where many would criticize the documentary, however I think it is set out what its meant to do.

When We Were Kings is not a biography type documentary of Muhammad Ali, it offers a great deal of insight into why the boxer was equally beloved and despised during his time. It's easy to forget how controversial a figure Ali was in the '60s and '70s, when he constantly proclaimed himself "the greatest” and said things like "Damn America. I live in America, but Africa's my home." He stood out to be a strong and powerful image, “Age and Parkinson's disease” have softened the man's image Spike Lee comments in the documentary, it's shocking to realize how few people understand who Muhammad Ali actually was.

Since most of the footage was shot in 1974 watching this documentary is like taking a little time trip back in time as they use a lot or archive footage throughout the documenatry. Ali and Forman appear on-screen, but only as they did around the time of the fight. Also what I found quite strange was that No interviews with either of the boxers are presented.

When We Were Kings has several good points, including footage of Ali's press conference and unsurprisingly, however, the most involving portion of the documentary is the coverage of the match. This match, which took place at 4 a.m. local time on October 30, 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire, marked the point at which Ali's image began to change from that of anti-hero to that of hero. The “When We Were Kings” project footage was kept shelved until 1989, when Gast, along with director Taylor Hackford began working to pare down hundreds of hours of film to a reasonable length.

The Aileen Wuornos documentary and the When We Were Kings documentary are both very similar in the way that they were presented to the audience. Contrasting the Aileen documentary to the When We Were Kings I have noticed many differences and similarities, both showing reasonable amounts of archive footage to help us understand more about the past and what things looked like, also the way that they focus on telling us about each of the characters including background history, personal information etc.

The main difference between the documentaries are that in the Aileen documentary the director is being filmed himself and also interviews and gets involved, interacts with the main character (Aileen). In When We Were Kings none of this happens, all of the footage involving the characters are mainly archive footage (old filming), unlike Aileen’s footage which is mainly modern filming apart from the archive footage.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Television section.

(?)
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related AS and A Level Media Studies Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related AS and A Level Television essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Types of documentary

    3 star(s)

    has kidney cancer is told by the insurance people that they won't allow an experimental treatment that might save his life. But that scene would likely play out just the same way in a nationalized health system. In those systems, cost-effectiveness decisions get made all the time. Care is rationed.

  2. 'Cathy Comes Home' - How far do the portrayals of the officials as heartless ...

    in housing people, while also giving an individual approach showing the struggle that the families have, creating a highly emotional image for viewers and putting them almost into the same situation. Typical values in a family are that the father plays the role of the breadwinner, whereas this is not

  1. Evaluation of a TV serial

    This piece, which took two days to create, has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career. One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that several segments are changed from episode to episode. Bart writes something different on the school chalkboard, Lisa may play

  2. What images of family and school life are presented in Malcolm in the Middle?

    Reese isn't too sure and doesn't realise they all like him being the school bully. He comes back and sorts everyone out, only then do we see a teacher pull Reese away from everyone to stop what he is doing.

  1. English Media Coursework: Comparing the Opening Sequence of Two Films - 'Clueless' and Pleasantville'

    and how one can have 'oomph' as well, so that creates tension. There is a major contrast between the residents of Pleasantville and the real world. In Pleasantville everyone is happy - there are never any upsets and no one ever swears.

  2. Review, analyse and comment on a television documentary entitled

    I also realised that when the scene of the world cup came on we saw a picture of Beckham as he was going to kick the ball. We heard a sound of a heart beat faster and faster and therefore this was non-diagetic music.

  1. Final Term Project of Marketing Management.

    Thus, while lavender was added to water for its value in maintaining hygiene in communal baths, its use in soaps was most likely determined by medical demands. Regardless of the end uses of soap, soap was popular throughout the Roman Empire.

  2. "Welcome to Eldorado: A coast of golden dreams and deep dark secrets - A ...

    hard hitting compared with the subtle hints we get of Trish inner self and her decomposing love life. The British Broadcasting Corporation attempted to make Eldorado a soap with a difference and I deem this to be why they set it in a typical Spanish coastal town.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work