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Intertexuality: Documentary and Feature Article

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Intertexuality: Documentary and Feature Article Documentaries aim to provide a creative treatment of reality, and convey their fact-based interpretation of an event or issue through film. Letter from America is a BBC documentary directed by Charlotte Metcalf and presented by Bonnie Greer. Through the use of language, focus and selection and similes the director is successful in constructing a documentary regarding the aftermath of September Eleven terrorist attacks. Feature article, September Eleven, by John Chuckman, a Canadian columnist, criticised many aspects of USA society surrounding the terrorist attacks. Through exploring multiple themes such as national identity, social effects, the role of the media and people's reactions, Greer and Metcalf were effective in producing a successful documentary, despite the fact that it challenged the target audience's values and attitudes. The value of America's national identity and security was strongly challenged in Letter from America. The people interviewed raised their concerns that their own beliefs about America as an invincible nation now appeared to be fantasy. ...read more.


Chuckman also emphasised the idea that, many members of society who are usually overlooked were also adversely affected by the terrorist attacks when he declares "...there will be a moments silence...an Elvis impersonator and chorus girls...the $8 dollar an hour student dressed up in a mouse-suit...will all remember loved ones they lost." This reinforced the common value that the terrorist attacks' effects were spread far and made it clear that this was one of their underlying themes. By reflecting this value I believe, that, like me, the audience is more likely to accept other issues presented to them through the documentary. Most members of western societies value the media as a great source of information. However, Letter from America challenged this value and criticised the role our news media plays in providing information. For example, the university students interviewed complain that they were unable to find any information which is not significantly subjective and biased towards American values. ...read more.


It questions the nation's ability to perform at its claimed standard and contrasts the viewers' values and attitudes. This is reinforced in the feature article September Eleven where Chuckman suggests that America is "...attached to fantasies which affect its role in foreign affairs, and how they see the world and themselves." The terms "teenagers" and "fantasies" both have negative connotations of immaturity and ignorance, undermining the ability of the nation. Both texts challenged western society's views on America's potential and true strength but were successful in achieving the audience's understanding and acceptance because they addressed widely-held values in the target audience. Through my study of Letter form America and September Eleven I discovered that texts have the ability to succeed whether or not they reflect the values of the audience. However, Letter from America reflected the value of equality and freedom of expression which would have been fully endorsed by the audience. By creating a resistant reading documentaries provide a broader awareness amongst members of the society regarding issues which affect them. ...read more.

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