Film Documentary Quotes
1. “... documentaries are about real life; they are not real life.” - Patricia Aufderheide in
Documentary Film - Encompasses the idea that all documentary are some what
dramatised due to the nature of the camera itself, the camera crew ensure that it is
never a ‘real life’ occurrence.
2. “Creative treatment of actuality.” - John Grierson - A key feature within all documentary,
it enables a more dramatic story and narrative to be created in order to portray a more
cohesive story or to attract audiences.
3. “There are documentary films that use dramatic structure, reconstructions and the like in
order to add to their impact.” - Some documentary employ fictional elements in order to
create more of a dramatic ambience for audiences, not only do these features add a
sense of drama but some aid the audience’s understanding.
4. “The distinction between nonfiction film and fiction film cannot be grounded in
differences of formal technique, because, when it comes to technique, fiction and
nonfiction filmmakers can and do imitate each other.” - Both types of film have a blurred
line status, they both share elements but apply these techniques in different manners to
the material to give it a genre.
5. “... the minute an individual becomes involved in the representation of reality, the
integrity of that reality is lost.” - Stella Bruzzi - Discusses the idea of focus films in which
the camera man likes to put himself into the film, this in fact can be argued as disruptive
and ruins the realism the filmmaker is trying to capture. A key argument surrounding
documentary as a genre.
6. “... represent a narrative instance or an event or activity that can be read as a typical
instance of that event or activity.” - Brian Winston - A key technique used in
documentary, instead of fictionalising or dramatising events, filmmakers are able to show
a routine once allowing audiences to assume it is a daily occurrence.
7. “Documentary operates in the crease between life as lived and life as narrativised.” - The
difference between the two is very minimal, can be difficult to differentiate with some
8. “ Documentary is not a reproduction of reality, it is a representation of the world we
occupy.” - Bill Nichols - (Similar to 1) Documentaries present an angle on the truth, but
are unable to present the whole truth due to the nature of the camera itself.
9. “... bent the boring truth to get to the essential truth.” - Ted Mills - Apply some elements
of the creative treatment of actuality to present a more truthful or dramatic to
documentary in order to form a new version of the truth.
10. “Treatment or dramatisation reflects the documentarist’s desire and willingness to use
actuality material to create a dramatic narrative.” - Brian Winston - Argues that
dramatisation isn’t used to alter audience’s perception of the truth, but instead allows
them to understand a more dramatic and structured narrative.