Reflexivity In Stories We Tell

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Reflexivity is a common device used in order to tell a story through modern day documentary filmmaking. Stories We Tell (Dir. Sarah Polley) is a formidable example of reflexive storytelling in a way that expresses itself well enough to hide the small details of fabrication that make the film tell such an intriguing story. Stories We Tell is a prime example of applying the narrators voice into the documentary because, for one, the material is a personal subject for Sarah Polley, but it lends a hand to telling the story in a way that speaks to the true meaning of the film which is slowly unraveled throughout the entire piece. Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell is unique in the way that for a documentary, the Filmmaker is much more than just one role in the film. For her, this is story of her life, however she is also narrating her own story to us as if it is a past tense recount, giving her a "all-knowing voice" role. More…show more content…
Polley's father almost directly narrates the entire film from excerpts of his autobiography which is interesting because everything he says is presumed to be factual, and everything shown in conjunction with what he says is from his life and true experiences. However, because the footage from Sarah childhood is almost all faked, the film borders the line between fiction and non-fiction. This begs the question of whether a film is considered entirely truthful if it has false scenes in it that aren't expressed as dramatizations. Especially in this case, is it right to call a film a documentary if there are parts of it that are implying lies? The idea of the film is to tell a true story but in that respect, there are countless fiction films that are based on true events with actors as well. These kind of choices make for a good documentary but shift the ethics of what it means to tell a story directly or with

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