The Importance Of Documentary Filmmaking

815 Words4 Pages
Nevertheless, documentary filmmaking, even in the new millennium, is always reticent to abandon objectivity completely. There is still something about the genre that makes filmmakers and viewers feel that by watching a documentary we are somehow getting closer to reality. This longstanding pretension may be the impetus behind Stella Bruzzi’s insightful observation that “documentary practice and theory have always had a problem with aesthetics.” Documentary filmmaking in the new millennium, however, clearly acknowledges that aesthetics are a key part of the documentary enterprise. Reflexive techniques allow filmmakers to more easily introduce a critical point of view and to deconstruct the narratives that shape individuals and modern societies.…show more content…
Andrés Di Tella, one of the most recognized cultivators of the first-person documentary in Latin America, has admitted that such films, his own included, are probably not completely devoid of these defects. Yet, we would argue that in most first-person films there is something much more profound at play. The director, as a first-person subject, goes in search of the other to learn something, but also to learn something about the self, or perhaps even more importantly about the relationship between the self and the other. In this sense, the subjective turn derives from the anthropological and ethnographic impulses that have always been present in documentary filmmaking. Attuned to these dynamics, Alisa Lebow notes that although a film “may appear to be in the first person singular ‘I,’ [. . .] ontologically speaking, it is always in effect, [in] the first person plural ‘we.’” Because the “I” exists in a social relationship to the other, it becomes clear that first-person documentaries have everything to do with the notion of community, with creating regimes of affect, identification, and connection in times when inequality reigns, exclusion is rampant, and people are starved for meaningful social relations. By saying “I,” then, the first-person documentary subject becomes vulnerable, open to transformation by the other, poised to both affect history and be affected by it. Regarding this ethical aspect of first-person filmmaking, Andrés Di Tella adds: “To put into a film autobiographical substance, to sacrifice one’s own family, to expose intimacies of experience, all that is a kind of public offering. An autobiographical documentary is a curious act of responsibility.”

More about The Importance Of Documentary Filmmaking

Open Document