Materials related to the use of documentary films in Religious Education and Values Education (especially in relation to the critical interpretation and evaluation of culture)


Viewing of some examples of documentaries -- NOTE: The majority of examples here are about serious social and/or historical issues. Care would be needed when selecting documentaries for school children depending on their age. However, many of these could be used with senior school students.

Files of a sample range of documentary films are included. A number of the documentaries are more than 30 minutes in length. Where it is brief (about 10 minutes or less) these will be indicated as 'Short'. Some of these, or parts of them, may possibly be used with students -- depending on the topic and the level of maturity of the students -- most of the material here is for adult education.

Most are 30 minutes or more and to date there has not been time to edit out the advertisements – they can be irritating, but it is possible to fast forward through the ads. These documentaries can be downloaded and played back or viewed as streaming media media. The files are in wmv format. A Mac computer or i Pad will need to download the VLC player application to view the wmv files. When looking into ‘educating young people with respect to film and television', documentaries can be valuable for research projects for students – the topics chosen depending on their age and maturity.

Documentaries about the history of World War 2
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History of the later stages and ending of World War II Part 1 WW2-EndOfWW2-Part1-C-WmEn.wmv
History of the later stages and ending of World War II Part 2 WW2-EndOfWW2Part2-C-WmEn.wmv

Collaboration between Nazi Germany and the IRA in Ireland


The Nazi Titanic This documentary shows how the meaning, relevance and significance of a film/text depends on the cultural context within which is being interpreted. The Nazi Titanic film (1940-1942) showed how a film devised by Joseph Goebbels to humiliate the British leadership and power elite as cowardly, seeking after profit and being careless about the welfare of their people turned out to have a different meaning after the tide of war changed against Germany in late 1942. By this stage, viewers of the film would be more likely to see the main characters in the Titanic story (Bruce Ismay and shareholders in the White Star line) as being identified with key leaders in the Nazi regime – Hitler Goebbels, Himmler, Goering, Speer etc. with the result that Goebbels would not allow the film ever to be shown in Germany because it could have been misinterpreted as criticising the regime in Germany rather than the British power elite as originally intended. Note also how the film Casablanca which has become a classic movie has tended to be viewed these days as not connected with its principal propaganda theme which was behind the production and release of the film – released on the day of the United States invasion of North Africa (operation Torch) in the latter part of 1942. Note the documentary on the Nazi Titanic film runs for one hour 26 minutes. Also, here and there the documentary commentary is a little over dramatic. Click either photo for the streaming video of the documentary

The whole of the original film Nazi Titanic can be viewed on you tube at this address.
Dr. Goebbels' Titanic (1942/3) This version also has the original movie trailer at the beginning. The trailer is not translated to English, but the movie itself is captioned/translated into English

Documentaries on the 'unofficial' history of the USA developed by film director Oliver Stone
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Truman, Eisenhower and the development of the cold war in the late 1940s and 1950s. Special attention is given to the anti-communist paranoia known as McCarthyism. Also the growth of 'nuclear deterrence'

The Vietnam war, Richard Nixon. Attention given to the development of anti-war feelings in the US. UnofficialHistoryUSA-6-NixonAndVietnamWar-C.wmv
Reagan and Gorbachev and the 1980s. The demise of the Soviet Union may have given rise to concern about other 'dangers'. UnofficialHistoryUSA-7-ReaganGorbachevThirdWorld-C.wmv
Bush and Clinton the 1990s UnofficialHistoryUSA-8-BushSnr&ClintonDeclineSoviets-C.wmv
Documentaries about crimes against humanity
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Journey into Genocide -- Land (How issues related to the land have figured in the driving forces behind genocides) GenocideJourneys-Land-C-WmEn.wmv
Journey into Genocide -- Ethnic Cleansing (How ethnic cleansing has been a potent force in genocides) GenocideJourneys-EthnicCleansing-C-WmEn.wmv
Auschwitz death camp -- towards the 'final solution' Auschwitz-TheFinalSolution-C-WmEn.wmv
Auschwitz 1944 -- removal of Jews from Hungary Auschwitz-1944HungarianJews-C-WMEn.wmv
Adolf Eichmann. His role in death camps during WW2, his escape to Argentina, his capture and famous trial in Israel.


Alternative mp4 file for Macs

Death camp Kommandant. History of the Jacenovac concentration camp in Croatia in world war two and how the Kommandant was finally brought back to justice from his hiding place in Argentina Jasenovac-DeathCampKommandant-C-WmEn.wmv
Documentaries about church history
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The key contribution of the Emperor Constantine. Christianity and the Roman Empire Constantine-HistoryOfChurch-C-WmEn.wmv
Documentaries on Christian spirituality
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Documentary about the influence of St Paul on the development of early Christianity JourneysOfStPaul-Documentary-C.wmv
Marcus Borg giving a lecture on the quest for the historical Jesus. Contrasts the 'Jesus of faith' seen from a post-Easter perspective of the gospels with the historical Jesus -- what scholars think Jesus was like during his life. MarcusBorg-HistoricalJesusStudies-Con.wmv
Jesus Christ Moviestar. A documentary that looks at the quest for the 'cinematic Jesus' -- how films have been like cinematic gospels, projecting a particular image of Jesus. Interesting to see whether or not there is much in common with what the scholars think the historical Jesus was like. The problem of 'historicising' the gospel stories that were essentially theological and about faith in the risen Jesus and not like a documentary account of Jesus life. JesusChristMovieStar-FullDocoVer2.mp4
Some aspects of medieval spirituality Aspects of medieval spirituality
The art of the Christian Cross ArtOfTheChristianCross-C-WmEn.wmv
Contemporary social issues and problems
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Good hair. Chris Rock looks at the way in which African American women have been seduced by the need for 'good hair' -- 'weaves'. Shows how the cultural image of what is good hair has had such an influence building up an industry

Change my race. An Australian documentary that looks at the growing trend amongst Asian Australians to change their racial looks to become more 'Western', and 'white'. Some feel that if they do not take the opportunity for what is called 'deracialisation' surgery, they are choosing to look ugly! ChangeMyRace-Documentary-C.wmv

Channel 9 News item on 'deracialisation' surgery. Interviews the maker of the above documentary 'Change your race'.

Development of personal relationships online. "When Strangers click" OnlineRelationships-ClickingStrangers-C-WmEn.wmv
The 'Heart Attack Grille' -- obsession with large quantity fast food outlets in USA (SHORT) PigoutUSA-HeartAttachGrilleSegment-C.wmv
The selling of digital technology to babies and children -- how consumerism is targeting parental anxiety about their children; appealing to parents through the myth of technology to purchase -- the documentary 'Consuming children' Also material on the image of masculinity encouraged for boys, and violence on screens. (SHORT)


Addiction to computer games -- A Dr Phil analysis (SHORT) ComputerGameAddiction-DrPhil-C-WmEn.wmv

Silence in the house of God: Documentary about paedophilia in the Catholic church, with special focus on the deaf community

Inside a luxury goods factory in Asia LuxuryGoodFactoriesInAsia-C-WmEn.wmv
Forced marriages -- Four corners analysis ForcedMarriages4Corners-C-WmEn.wmv
Kids with guns -- gun culture and children in USA Guns-KidsWithGuns-C-WmEn.wmv
Youth suicide -- program by Four Corners 2012 YouthSuicide4CornersProgram2012-C-WmEn.wmv
Aboriginal community at Toomelah


Alternative Mp4 file

Binge drinking among young women (SHORT)


Alternative Mp4 file

News report on alcohol fuelled violence. How a distorted image of what it means to be 'masculine' is probably involved as well.(SHORT)


The 'Neknominate' craze in alcohol abuse, Shows how an activity starting with two young men has now spread across Australia through the social media


The spread of the use of ice -- methamphetamine -- in Mildura in Victoria


Small fundamentalist Baptist church in USA which is strongly homophobic. Protests at funerals of soldiers from Iraq & Afghanistan. What chance do the children have of escaping this family/church indoctrination? Fundamentalist church in USA
Pint sized preachers. How toddlers and young children have been groomed to become child preachers -- following the image PintSizedPreachers-C.wmv
An Irish immigrant tells the story of trying to change the culture of female genital mutilation of African women FemaleGenitalMutilation-IrishImmigrantStory-C.wmv
Keeping wild animals as pets in the USA Wild animals as pets
Doomsday prophets (SHORT) DoomsdayProphets
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