Course Title: True Lies : Documentary Studies

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: True Lies : Documentary Studies

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


335H Applied Communication


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr. Smiljana Glisovic

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course offers a critical overview of the historical development of the documentary form and its varieties, and the critical and theoretical discourse surrounding them. This course will survey a variety of documentary forms across a range of historical periods and national cinemas.

You will explore the relationship between ideas of truth and representation, political agency and the ethics of documentary film practice, and how these concepts and practices can be related to historical changes in documentary filmmaking.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcome:

  • Identify, evaluate and critically analyse cultural, historical and theoretical practices which contextualise your professional practice and further study.


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and analyse a range of approaches to the making and categorisation of documentary film.
  • Discuss documentary film within its historical and theoretical contexts.
  • Critically analyse the development of ideas about the relationship of truth and representation, political agency and the ethics of documentary film practice.
  • Examine and discuss the ethical and ideological implications of documentary as a film form explicitly engaged with reality. 

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in a range of learning activities which may include project work, lectures, tutorials, class discussion, individual and group activities.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.

The Library provides guides on academic referencing: and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarian.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include written and oral reports, reflective papers, creative projects and presentations, individually and in groups.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: Assessment