Documentary storytelling is the realest kind of cinema. It is not based off of some story, taking place in someones memory or some fantastical place. A documentary is either about what is actually happening in real time or the discussion and exploration of something that happened in the past through the eyes of the people who experienced it. A documentary tends to have a different motivation behind it than to make money, like a lot of current films, especially the major ones. A documentary tends to exist simply to explain a story and share it. It is about the story and the expression, not anything else.
This is clearly shown in this quote from the Bernard reading, “But
the stories that you see in documentary ﬁlms are so pure, and so
authentic—the good ones, that is. They’re done out of heart and
soul. I’m always going to have one toe in the documentary realm,
because it’s so passion driven.”
Documentary storytelling is important because it’s the only real medium to portray the most personal emotions in a film. While emotions of all kinds can be seen in the stories of all the other types of cinematography, nothing quite compares to the emotions that can be felt and understood as you watch a documentary. A documentary allows something so impersonal as watching something on screen become as real as a friend telling you a story.
Again, the Bernard reading perfectly describes this, “but in addition to that I would
say, one, to be really honest with yourself and to open up your
heart and let your story really come out. For me, that was one
of the hardest things, was really letting your defenses down and
exposing yourself on camera.”