Tuesday, 13 November 2012

What is a documentary?

What is a documentary?

Documentaries can be seen as many different things such as factual packed programs that go into great detail to tell a story. For example many World War documentaries just let viewers know what different events occurred within the war. Documentaries can also be used to inform people of different sides of an argument where facts will be shown but also opinions from different people. One such documentary I have recently watched that is set out in this manor is called Fahrenheit 911. This was about the events of 911 and the war in Iraq. It presents many different facts but also contains a large amount of interviews with people who are affected or involved. It also contained huge amounts of real life footage from the events to stress an idea. However this documentary seems to have a large asset of bias within it, this can be seen in other documentaries too. The reason for this can be the director’s hatred of something within the subject so he/she may just focus on that within the film in order to just stress their opinions.    

Documentaries don’t always have the official footage of an event as there may have been no footage filmed at the time. So documentaries can often have lots of recreational footage to show the audience what the subject or event may have looked like, these kinds of films are called ‘Performative documentaries’ A good example of a perfomative documentary drama I have recently watched would be Touching the Void, this relied heavily on recreational footage as the people who were involved with climbing up the mountain did not take any cameras with them. However the documentary did have many interviews with the mountaineers to give the audience an understanding of how they felt.

Documentaries can be ranged from extremely random subjects to something we all think about every day. Most of the documentaries which seem to have rather random subjects are called ‘Experimental documentaries’ these range from all sorts of subjects but one in particular I have seen is ‘Once upon a Tram Ride’ which tells a story on the life of a protestor in The Hague. As I have said before, documentaries often go into great detail in order to tell a story or show different aspects of a story and they are extremely important to watch if you are interested in understanding a subject to its fullest potential, where balanced documentaries come into play.    

Over the last 10 years documentaries have most definitely become much more popular with audiences all over the world. This is because of the large change in the subject that is being presented. Usually documentaries would have been based around the idea of politics or over talked about subjects and an example of could possibly be World War documentaries.  Whereas now documentaries are reported on much more popular subjects such as move stars, music artists and many other things. The subjects have now grown at a much wider variety to choose from. A good example of a more recent type of documentary genre would be musical based. The Bob Marley documentary steps into the life of Bob Markey and what he had achieved in his musical career. Another assumption that can be made about documentaries could be that directors are often trying to make audience’s world wide much more politically aware of what is going on around the world. A good example of this could also be Fahrenheit 911.

Another good example of these types of politically aware documentaries would be The Kennedy Assassination which follows up from transcripts about what happened to the president in the last 24 hours of his life and what strange occurrences happened with conspiracy theory ideas and thoughts involved within it. In my opinion I feel that documentaries have changed in such a dramatic way over the last 10 years possibly because viewers were getting tired of watching documentaries based on the same subjects. That is possibly why directors decided to branch out to documentaries based on musical artists and other subjects. I have also grown to enjoy documentaries at least in the last 3 years due to this subject change, especially this example below (Marley)  

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