Here I will be discussing the similarities and differences, the responses and the power to shock inform and creature change for the before-mentioned drama documentary ‘Warriors’, and an 8-minute news clip broadcast at 23rd April 1993 by the BBC. The reporter was Martin Bell from the BBCM and it was shot on location at the village of Annichi (Bosnia). Warriors is a BBC Drama Documentary, filmed on location at the same place as the news report, and at about the same time. A ‘Drama Documentary’ is usually classified as a Documentary with dramatic elements, and which serves to entertain to a degree as well as inform.
Both the news clip and Warriors aim to inform and educate. This can be backed up as the sole reason news programs exist for is to inform and educate, and Warriors is a Drama Documentary and documentaries exist to educate and inform, and to create change. Also not all things shown that are unsuitable for a universal audience are ‘covered up’, so they both inform and educate to a higher degree. To some degree is provides entertainment too, as some people enjoy scenes of violence as shown. These things revealed are facts, which hold the potential to educate in some way. Another similarity is that both Warriors and the news clip have limits, violence and content mainly, including disturbing scenes. This is because both will be shown to a universal audience. In both the news clip and the drama documentary, the solder’s real names remain anonymous, except for the CO, and fake names and identities fill the gap. Both Warriors and the news clip cover things up. If done correctly this can be used to inform and educate, but instead of telling the truth, the truth can be twisted so it is transformed into an agent of change. I can’t tell if this is the case here, but I think not.
Covering things up puts a limit to what can be learnt, so it informs and educates to a lesser extent. This can be backed up by the fact that virtually zero of the total number of dead bodies that can be shown are not shown, and the camera is carefully steered away from them. This covers up the truth and keeps a lot from the audience. This last point ties in with my next point, which is they both are prepared beforehand for a general audience. If they want to show it to, say, under 10s, they can’t have too many disturbing scenes, and have to tone down what is displayed. In the scene in Warriors when the soldier walks into the cellar, which is full of burnt bodies, they are not real and are artificial.
This gives the film crew a chance to tone it down, and hence the bodies are made not to reflect what really happened there in every detail, but they are made to comply with the standards that are needed for young people to be able to watch it, and to comply with what is needed to make it suitable for a universal and general audience. Both the news clip and Warriors are sympathetic to the victims of what happened. This is shown by the soldier’s actions, which are scripted beforehand, and are scripted by people who are sympathetic to the victims, which most people are. Virtually all that is shown is from the soldier’s/victim’s side of the story, there is not a shred of anything to backup the actions of the enemy, and the other side is shown as the enemy. Also there is a scene when one of the soldiers sees a house that has a cross marked on it and hasn’t been touched by the people who torched the rest of the village. He gets really angry and out of control. Another similarity between warriors and the news clip is the use of mis-en-scene, which is utilized a lot, and this ties into a pervious point a bit, as mis-en-scene can also be used to control what the audience sees, to make it suitable for a general audience.
The use of the camera is different. In warriors there is no attempt to keep the camera still while moving, to achieve a sense that you are that person. In the news clip the camera is still and fixed most of the time, like when the reporter is talking the camera is fixed on him. Violence limits are higher for the drama documentary than the news clip, this can be proved because I don’t think a shot was fired once in the news clip, yet in warriors there are quite a few gunshots, and a few people are dying too. In the news report acts of extreme violence are rarely displayed, as the main goal of ‘news’ reports are to inform. Hence ‘Drama Documentaries’ are generally allowed more, as they aim to educate, and sometimes violence is needed more. Another factor contributing to the limits are the BBC guidelines, which put restraints on any BBC content, such as the news clip. Another difference is the narrator. In the BBC news clip the narrator is the reporter, yet Warriors is completely without a Narrator.
This may be because Warriors has characters, who talk amongst each other about what is going on, their feelings, etc, and that the news clip has no characters, so a narrator is needed. Another difference is the production times. Being a daily news report the news clip doesn’t have much time to get filmed, in a way it is rushed, as some of the finer visual details are missing. Warriors had a lot more time to be scripted and filmed, as it doesn’t have a deadline in the way news clip does, so the result is that it is more ‘polished’, and includes a lot more details, and extra effects like music add to the atmosphere.
The last point relates to the next one a bit, Warriors has atmospheric music, and the news clip does not. This is to create an atmosphere and to heighten the view’s emotions and it does not end with music. Mis-en-scene, the script and facial expressions of the characters all add to the atmosphere and try to add to the emotions of the viewers. This is what the news clip lacks, it makes virtually no attempt to heighten emotion except when the reporter uses a specific choice of word like ‘Horrific’, and exaggerations, all of which do heighten emotion just a little bit, but it’s mainly just to keep the interested and listening. The lack of attempt to heighten emotion could be explained by the fact that the news is a lot more serious, and the tone of the reporter’s voice suggests that.
Putting these all together I would say that they both inform very well, even though they both try to cover some of the fact up. They try to be suitable for a general audience and I think they succeed, at the cost of the events being portrayed as what happened, but fluffed up a bit. I think Warriors informs and educates a lot better than the news clip. It captures the atmosphere of the incident much better than a news clip could ever do, and it is longer, allowing it to hold much more content. It shows how the soldiers felt, and what they did, and brings another dimension to what could just be a timeline of what happened. It also gets the viewer involved emotionally quite often, with the music, the soldiers feelings and views, and the drama brought in when something bad happens. It also keeps the viewer much more interested, so the viewer can watch more, take in more, and so it informs and educates them much more effectively.
I think the drama documentary has the greater power to shock. The music in warriors helps to create tension, which can make people much more vulnerable to shock. Warriors is not a horror movie, however. It is a drama documentary, so its power to shock is mainly based in the portrayal of events. For example, when the soldiers walk into a room to discover several burnt bodies.
There is a limit to how much it can shock the viewers, however. These are actual events, and Warriors cannot really overstep its place and over-exaggerate the events too greatly. To do so would decrease the documentary’s power to inform and educate, as the viewers would be receiving untrue versions of what happened. Also, Warriors only has certain scenes which hold the potential to shock, most of the rest of the documentary is merely building up to those moments. That, however, greatly increases the shock at that moment. Building the tension up defiantly has an impact upon the shock. The ‘Drama’ part of ‘Drama Documentary’ can usually include shock, so it is not really a surprise to see it there. However, the news clip’s main function is to inform, not create Drama. The only shock in the clip is the news itself, which the documentary shares.
The drama documentary shows the audience more, and the music etc might tangle with the viewer’s views. This could create change, but it might not be completely reliable. However, it could certainly change people’s perceptions towards one of the sides, in Warriors it will make them side with the soldiers and the victims, as they are portrayed as the ‘good guys who are fighting to save the defenseless inhabitants of Annichi.’ A much wider audience views the news clip, and the reaction of the reporter himself could change someone’s perception towards the incident. I think the drama documentary would be the greater at creating change, as it shows what really happened in a lot more detail, and what did happen would stimulate certain emotions which would certainly create change, the change might not just be very widespread.
The drama documentary ‘Warriors’ defiantly educates, informs and shocks quite a bit better than the news clip, excluding the potential to create change, in which I think they are equal.