DOI link for Documentary film
Documentary film book
This chapter considers different definitions and purposes of documentary, and analyses the concept of the real in relation to documentary. It identifies the different modes of documentary representation. Canadian explorer and prospector Robert Flaherty was fascinated by the Inuit peoples of northern Canada, and began shooting short films of their lives. In 1916, he lost all 30,000 feet of his feature documentary when a cigarette caused a fire in his editing room. Although definitions of documentary can be complicated and difficult to pin down, there are some characteristics of the form which probably can be agreed upon. Categories of non-fiction and fiction forms are increasingly blurred and filmmakers use cinematic techniques in freer ways: cinematography which might once have been firmly associated with documentary forms such as handheld cameras are just as likely to be used in big budget action cinema.