Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary

Posted October 8, 2009 in The Small Screen

Lovers of documentary film will find more than a few gems in this documentary about documentaries from filmmaker Pepita Ferrari and the National Film Board of Canada. Putting the art form of “capturing reality” under a microscope, Ferrari offers a fundamental education on the passions, epiphanies and moral dilemmas that make up practitioners of the medium—38 documentarians who candidly discuss their motivations, process and theories on nonfiction film. Intercut with clips from some of the most famous docs, as well as those less well-known, the film is never short on provocative confessions and revelations: German New Wave-ist Werner Herzog (Little Dieter Needs to Fly), for example, doesn”t care a whit about facts and believes his goal is to make you feel truth, even if what he shows you is fictionalized; Scott Hicks (Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts) believes there is no such thing as absolute truth, and Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line) knows that a fact is a fact and cannot be disputed—that is truth. Other noteworthy subjects include Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens), Nick Broomfield (Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer) and Kim Longinotto (The Day I Will Never Forget), which means you should get a nice long list of must-sees scribbled down, if nothing else.


Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary, First Run Features. 97 minutes (plus bonus disc). Unrated. List Price $26.99. Releases Oct. 20.


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