Documentary Film Analysis: “What do I desire?”

I am currently learning and focusing on filming techniques for documentaries in freshman seminar to use for my own project. In viewing the short documentary “What do I desire?” by Naseh Jrab, I was able to see how the editing, camera movement and angles, use of B-roll footage, and the use of different types of audio effected the ability of the film to portray its message.

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Naseh Jrab’s “What do I desire?”

The film by Naseh Jrab was a self-questioning spoken word to the question “What do I desire?” that expressed the author’s opinions about his society’s education system and social factors the suppressed not only his goals but the goals of everyone living in that society. Because the film only expressed the opinions of one person, the audio was layered into the film narration style, and there were no interview-style scenes or cuts to the narrator speaking. Instead, the film was entirely B-roll footage that played out scenes that related to the words of the narrator. For example, when the narrator begins to speak about his mother, a scene of a mother and a child play out. Another type of example is when the narrator speaks the line “…but for me the world just seemed to stop,” emphasis was put onto the word ‘stop’ as the footage playing paused. By doing so, I believe that the filmmaker did a great job of relating the visuals and auditory elements of his film together.

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An example of the literal representation of text into visuals – Naseh Jrab’s “What do I desire?”

The music in the background of the film was a very soft piano so that it did not overpower either the narrator speaking or take away from the visuals. It along with the dark video clips kept the mood of the entire work very reflective and contemplative – as if the film were a literal representation of what was going on in the narrator’s mind as he spoke. There was one change of mood – at when the narrator spoke the line “Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing…” – at that moment scenes of skydiving in a bright blue sky gave much contrast to the scenes before it which were mostly dark and related to the mundane tasks of everyday life. This indicated a change of tone in the film as the speech and music began to brighten.

I believe that this documentary by Naseh Jrab used many great things that I could, too, incorporate into my own film, such as the use idea of mood changes, narration style, and literal representation of text into images.

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