I chose the trailer for the documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth”, created by Davis Guggenheim; the trailer was posted to YouTube (Lazo, 2007, n.p.). In discussing this trailer in this assignment I have complied with U.S. Copyright Law by correctly citing and referencing the video (Librarian, 2017, n.p.).
The intended message of this documentary is that climate change is not only likely to be catastrophic, but is also 100% preventable. The film used graphic footage of environmental disaster juxtaposed with stark factual and statistical information to shock viewers and to create a sense of urgency, panic, and responsibility (Lazo, 2007, n.p.). According to the textbook, when it comes to telling a story through motion picture, “The clearer the intention, the more successful the project will be” (Ryan, 2012, n.p.). In the case of this film, the intended message of the filmmakers is made crystal clear by the use of the motion picture format to illustrate cause and effect. In this sense, the motion picture is achieving something which a still image could not: it is able to show clear effects in linear time, illustrating to viewers the progression of climate change as a process of connected and related events. This provides the message with greater impact, as the viewer cannot fail to see how poor decisions and practices lead directly and immediately to climate change catastrophes. According to the textbook, “The illusionary believability cinema brings via its moving pictures has the power to grip our attention” (Ryan, 2012, n.p.); this idea of illusion highlights what might be considered one ethical concern about the use of motion pictures as a communication medium: because the reality shown in the motion picture seems so real and complete, and yet can only ever show one limited perspective and a limited view of the whole picture, it may create an illusion of truth which in fact is biased and partial. In this way, may important sides to an issue may be lost.

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  • Lazo, T. (2007, March 20). “An Inconvenient Truth Trailer.” Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnjx6KETmi4.
  • Librarian, J. T. (2017). “Copyright Basics.” Retrieved from http://www.copyright.com/learn/media-download/copyright-basics/.
  • Ryan, W. (2012). “Storytelling with Moving Imagery: Thinking Visually.” In W. Ryan (Ed.), Visual Literacy: Learning to See (Chapter 6). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Inc.