This Is Spinal Tap Vs Hard Core Logo

1983 words - 8 pages

Many of the genre characteristics of the documentary, whether intentionally or not, serve to reassure the viewer that the people and actions depicted are true and sincere. When a documentary strays from certain conventions, viewers question the actuality of the content. Such is the case in Godboutís The Fate of America, where the heavy staging and scripting cause the viewer to question the validity of the filmmakerís ëchanceí meeting of RenÈ Dubois. However, when a fiction film adopts the genre conventions of a documentary, the reverse occurs. Whereas the viewer of a documentary may question whether the supposed non-fiction is actually fiction, the viewer of ...view middle of the document...

The two humorous mocumentaries adopt characteristics of the documentary in order to parody their subjects - a fictional rock band in the case of Spinal Tap, and a small town named Blain in the case of Guffman. The format of the documentary is used by these films so that the actions and words of the fictional characters are presented as actual, sincere, and consequently, humorous.In Spinal Tap, the ëdocumentarianí, Marty, interviews the members of the band as well as fans, includes concert footage, conversations between band members, and footage behind the scenes and on tour buses. The camera is commonly hand-held, people stumble over lines, and in some shots the camera crew can be seen. The format mimics the look and style of the countless rockumentaries (documentaries based on rock bands) made, such as Scorseseís examination of The Band in The Last Waltz (1978), or D.A. Pennebakerís documentation of Bob Dylan in Donít Look Back (1967). Although the structure of the film could lead the viewer to believe that Spinal Tap is an actual band, the presentation of the band members quickly cues the viewer to the sarcastic nature of the movie.During the first interview with the band, Marty asks about the death of one of the bandís old drummers. Derek, the bassist, replies that ìthe official explanation was he choked on vomitî (Reiner, This is Spinal Tap), to which Nigel, the lead guitarist, adds ìIt was actually, was actually someone elseís vomitî (Reiner). Unfortunately, the culprit was never found, for as Nigel observes ìyou canít really dust for vomitî (Reiner). Up until this interview, any viewer unaware with the fictitious nature of the film would believe the band had actually existed. In the first scene, Marty introduces himself as a filmmaker, gives a brief history of the band, stating ìseventeen years and fifteen albums later, Spinal Tap in still going strongî (Reiner), and presents his intention for making the film, ìwhen I heard the Tap was releasing a new albumÖI jumped at the chance to make the documentaryî (Reiner). This scene is followed by several fan interviews, and then an on-stage performance by the band. The interview which follows the concert is the first time the realism of the film is called into question. The bandís straight-faced ridiculous responses quickly indicate the sarcastic and fictitious nature of the film.Whereas the opening scenes of the film mimic the documentary in order to establish the actual existence of the band, once the bandís first interview locates the film as a humorous mocumentary, the movie uses the format to further ridicule the band. Whereas the viewer is first presented with fans who make realistic claims that ìHeavy metalís deep, you can get stuff out of itî, after the interview, response to the band becomes humorous - a review claims the band is...

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