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To what extent is Michael Moores documentary Bowling for Columbine made in the associative mode? Would you describe the films style as proactive or reactive observationalism? Why?

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Introduction

To what extent is Michael Moore?s documentary ?Bowling for Columbine? made in the associative mode? Would you describe the film?s style as proactive or reactive observationalism? Why? According to definition, the associative mode is an approach to documentary which attempts to use footage in such a way as to provide the maximum degree of symbolic or metaphorical meaning on top of the literal information available in the image. The associative mode is conceived through juxtaposition, either of different, usually contrasting, images or of images and sound. In light of this, Bowling for Columbine is not only made in the associative mode but it may even be considered a paradigm of it, as its numerous uses create very particular meanings and associations which I shall further explore in my essay. ...read more.

Middle

Moreover, Bowling for Columbine is an exemplar of proactive observationalism as Moore is overtly persuasive in his perspective, a perspective which he captures through the medium of cinema. He is an active, prominent presence, seen interacting with the people and the events being filmed. His presence is not only fully acknowledged, but even emphasized at times, particularly in conflicts when he takes sides. He is both author and character in his film, hence provoking reactions from subjects and audiences alike. As established, he is on-screen and interaction is showed taking place: thus the power relation between those involved, the filmmaker as interviewer and the interviewee, becomes more apparent. The camera will always have an effect, however minimal, on those being filmed, and it may be masked by the expository or observational documentary, but it becomes discernible in interactive documentary. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the film progresses, however, we discover his persona to function both on a comical and disturbing level, as he gradually uncovers some of America?s most disquieting issues. Free from the constraints of impartiality, interactive documentary is arguably the most reliable type of documentary forms because it doesn?t purport to be anything other than subjective. One can often assume that the function of documentaries is to offer a fair, balanced and neutral account of an issue or subject, since the medium they are dealing with is, after all, reality. However, arriving at a consensus, particularly over controversial issues such as gun control, is extremely difficult. I have thus explored the nature of Michael Moore?s documentary Bowling for Columbine and its relationship with both the associative mode and the proactive observationalism. Through my illustrations, I believe no doubts remain as to Bowling for Columbine?s proactive style and its overt use of associative mode. ...read more.

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