This semester I am teaching a course about the history and developments of mass communication theory. One of the key themes that keeps appearing is how theorists construct the relationship between the media and the audience. In the early theories (1920s-1960s), the audience frequently is constructed as weak and unable to withstand the influences of the media. More optimistic theories allow the audience some agency, but only some.
In all my recent watching lately, I have noticed in particular the uses of voiceover narration and of titles. Voiceover narration for the longest time was associated with expository modes of documentary, such as films from the British Documentary Movement, Pare Lorentz, and even the Why We Fight series. Some of this narration was poetic, [...]