Icarus Documentary Essay

Documentary Essay

Most of the reading in this course has focused on the historical influence of documentary film. As you will read in the article I’ve posted, the last decade has been considered the Golden Age of documentary.

Largely because of technology (better cheaper equipment & online distribution) more and more documentaries are being made. The public interest in these film has also grown.



Write a 3-page research paper on one of the documentary films listed below.

  • Give a brief history of the background of the film (at least two paragraphs).
  • Create a synopsis of the documentary (one paragraph max, I’ve seen all these films).
  • Select two scenes and discuss the filmmakers’ “creative treatment of reality” (use of audio, video, graphics, stills, etc,)
  • Discuss which convention mode or modes were used.
  • Conclude with the legacy of the film (did it create social change, fuel important conversation or legislation, contribute to the history of documentary film in an impactful way).

Make sure to include a strong thesis statement. Further information on thesis statements can be found here:

http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/developing-thesis (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

You may send me your thesis statement for feedback before writing the paper.


  • Create a compelling piece of writing arguing for your thesis
  • Use academic resources
  • Use comparison and analysis
  • Use at least 3 academic sources.Links to an external site.
  • Links to an external site.Get specific and detailed
  • Use MLA formatting and include a works cited page
  • Your sources should reference the filmmaker’s techniques/collaborators, not general film terminology.
  • Watch director’s commentaries for more information.


  • Plagiarize
  • Create a summary of an entire movie
  • Use “I”
  • Write a review
  • Rely solely on Google, use the library!
  • Be too general
  • Use a film seen in class
  • DO NOT CITE the DVD or video as a source.


Icarus is the film and it can be found on Netflix!

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