Documentary Film Analysis

1347 Words6 Pages
The process of applying a definition to documentary filmmaking is in short; arduous. The term documentary is often used alongside and sometimes interchangeably with the term ‘non-fiction film’. This is due to the two modes sharing an element of non-fictional content, which is not to be confused with ‘non-narrative’ filmmaking. Non-narrative films in contrast to the documentary, are concerned with the absence of narration and ultimately strive to be nonrepresentational. Non-fiction film juxtaposes this aspect, as they attempts to provide a representation for physical reality. The non-fiction filmmaker records subjectively through the camera lens and interprets the world without altering the reality. However, defining the documentary is difficult…show more content…
In Chapter One of his Introduction to Documentary, Nichols’ admits that in regards to providing a definition to the broad documentary form that ‘a concise, overarching definition is possible but not fundamentally crucial’.(cite) Furthermore, Nichols insists that each film which society considers a documentary, must contribute to an ongoing dialogue. This is a value which he argues is of more importance. More importance than the common advantageous goal of defining the form, which would have very little benefit. In his introduction Nichols establishes a structure through outlining three common sense assumptions regarding the newly emerging genre; documentaries are about reality, documentaries are about real people and documentaries tell stories about what really happened. He also defines six modes of documentary which exist within the form. This is perhaps a conscious effort on Nichols part in order to avoid the pitfalls of Grierson’s definition -which has been argued as being outdated and limiting. The six modes which Nichols defines within the documentary form are; poetic, expository, participatory, observational, reflexive and performative. In Nichols comprehensive study he also outlines the cross pollination of social media and the documentary form. Sites such as Youtube, Facebook and Vimeo have become vessels for producing a form of

More about Documentary Film Analysis

Open Document