Documentaries and Storytelling

Documentary storytelling means showing an event, person, or situation in a nonfiction manner. A documentary uses actual footage of the subject rather than a recreation of a scene.  However, there can be set-up interviews or occurrences, but they are still very genuine.  A documentary is interesting because it uses video footage, sounds, narration, and text.  Many forms of media can be incorporated in it and it may take a lot of editing to create a documentary, but it tells a story that is real, raw, and sometimes grainy. Filmmaker Per Saari says, “People get so worked up about shooting on high-quality film and video that they forget that the story isn’t really dependent on how grainy the image is. As long as the subject is there, that’s really important.” (Bernard 345). That’s one of the main differences between telling a story in a regular studio film as opposed to a documentary. A documentary typically has more “narrative and realism” (Nichols 34).

I enjoyed the interview Per Saari because I liked his meaning of a documentary being very personal.  For him the experience of creating a film about his brother was a form of coping and healing while commemorating his brother. It seems like his documentary is what Nichols would call reflexive because he was very much a subject of the documentary and recorded interviews of himself to “extract confessional performance” (Nichols 61).

I’m not exactly sure what an un-documentary is.  My first thought is taking a story and deconstructing it, “un-doing” it.  Maybe taking footage or parts of a story and putting it back together in a new way or a way that enhances the value of its meaning.  It would still be realistic and nonfiction, just arranged in a manner that could intensify the connection to viewer and the story.

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