Analysing documentary films 

Professors at the Graduate Institute often use films to address the topic of their course, whether in history, political science, or anthropology. Most of these are documentaries that students will have to analyse with a critical eye. Based on the writings of Bill Nichols, the American founder of the study of documentary film, this post aims to give you clues for a better understanding of documentaries.

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Borrow DVDs… and a player!

The Library has a rich collection of over 3500 DVDs related to international relations and development, and while DVD is not quite dead yet, we know not everyone has a drive on their laptop anymore.

To discover or rewatch documentaries and fiction films not available on streaming platforms, you can now borrow one of our new portable DVD players, which you can connect to your computer via USB. They are available from the Loan desk and can be borrowed and kept like DVDs (short loan: 7 days, 5 automatic renewals). Enjoy the show!

Series of the week: “Years and years”, by Simon Cellan Jones and Lisa Mulcahy

As we will very soon start a new decade, it may be time to have a look at the coming challenges.

“Years and Years follows the Lyons, a busy Manchester family. Daniel’s getting married to Ralph. Stephen and Celeste worry about their kids. Rosie’s chasing a new fella. Edith hasn’t been home for years. All presided over by Gran, the imperial Muriel. But when their lives all converge on one crucial night in 2019, the story accelerates into the future, following the lives and loves of the Lyons over the next 15 years.

And what a world! Everything we fear, and everything we hope for, happening around this tight-knit family. Society gets hotter, faster, madder, with the turmoil of politics, technology and distant wars affecting the Lyons in their day-to-day lives. Set against this, the Lyons have to navigate their everyday hopes and fears, knowing that one ordinary family could never change the world. Or could they?”

Season 1, 6 episodes of 59 mns, 2019
Call number: 942 YEA HEIDVD 3656

Film of the week: “The Lives of Others”, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

“The horrifying, sometimes unintentionally funny system of observation in the former East Germany. In the early 1980s, the successful dramatist Georg Dreyman and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland, a popular actress, are big intellectual stars in the socialist state, although they secretly don’t always think loyal to the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more…”

132 mns, 2007
Call number: 943 LIV