The interviews in the clip below from Yoav Segal’s documentary No Pasaran – They shall not pass show eyewitnesses to the Battle of Cable Street (in 1936) recount their memories. The look of a documentary is very different from other genres such as the comedy The Bar Mitzvah Boy or the period drama Sixty-Six
As you watch, try to think about these two questions:
1. How does this documentary look different from other film genres? Try to be specific with your examples.
2. What questions do you think the interviewer might have asked to stimulate these responses given by the interviewees? Make a note of these.
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Talk through these questions in pairs making notes of your answers.
1. When someone is interviewed for a documentary film, the filmmakers usually undertake research. What research do you think the filmmakers did before making this film? What did they want to find out more about? Why is research important in documentary films?
2. What questions do you think were asked to the interviewees in this clip? How do you think the filmmakers prepared the interviewees before the filming began? If you were being interviewed for a film, how could the filmmakers make you feel most at ease with the experience?
3. Do you think the speakers in the film are responding to just one question or do you think the filmmakers have edited together responses to a few questions to make it appear like one, uninterrupted monologue? How can you tell? You could watch the clips again to see if you can spot any editor’s cuts.
4. As well as the interviewees, what other sources of information did the filmmakers use to construct their account of the Battle of Cable Street? What is the effect of this? Do you think it adds to the interviewees’ words or is it a distraction? Explain your reasons.
5. How can you use the answers to these questions to inform your own documentary filmmaking? List 3 key points you have learned about filming interviews.