Israel through the Lenses of Oscar-Nominated Documentary Film ‘Promises’


Film is a significant tool of (re)shaping, (re)constructing, (re)presenting and (re)structuring realities. According to Edelman (1993) the social world is like a kaleidoscope of potential realities (p. 232). Media plays an active role in determining when and how to evoke certain realities depending on which observations are framed and categorized. The concept of media as shaping and reshaping realities suggests exploring various influences on the production of media content. Analyses of media contents and their effects help to conceptualize media society relationship in a broader spectrum. This study is analyzing the depictions of Israel through Oscar-nominated documentary film ‘Promises'. Documentary film is taken to be a journalistic work and belongs to realist tradition. Paradoxically, the selection processes suggest that documentary filmmaker has more authority, freedom and control on the subject. Framing in the documentary films may have profound effects by leading viewers to accept one meaning over another. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the contents of documentary film under consideration serves as a means of understanding overt and covert messages. Contents of the film are analyzed to study patterns of depiction for the followers of three religions in terms of marginalization or prominence; production/technical treatment; formation, integration and comparison of images associated with the participants; comparison of coverage given to the followers of different religions; associations on gender basis. According to Gunning (2008, p 198), “non-fiction filmmaking remains one of the other major lacunae of film studies.” This research is an attempt to contribute in the domain of documentary films.

Author Information
Abida Eijaz, University of the Punjab, Pakistan.

Paper Information
Conference: NACMFCS2014
Stream: Media and Mass Communication - Visual Communication

This paper is part of the NACMFCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon