Written by Otto Landesman | November 16, 2019
The rapid rise of documentary films in cinemas, televisions programs, and all have raised questions in people’s minds. What does documentary film mean? What differentiates a documentary film from other types? What does it promise the viewers? If you are reading this article, you are most likely one of those people. Otto Landesman– a film, music and photography enthusiast, with tons of experience in Documentary, shares his knowledge on the meaning, history and how you can identify one.
A documentary tells and plays out real-life stories. They are factual, non- fictional, portraits of real-life events, stories and real people with the aim of convincing, persuading, entertaining, or informing the viewers. Interesting, unusual real-life stories or experiences are captured and portrayed to evoke some feelings and emotions in the viewers. Films or videos are made using motion pictures or images in a real environment, using real people, creating real sounds, using natural lights to portray real-life events.
Documentary films are not just today, it is as old as film making itself. However, the word came into existence in the early 1920s when John Grierson, coined the word from the french word “documentaire”. He wrote Robert Flaherty’s film Moana indicating that it is written in a documentary style. He is also the founder of the British Documentary Movement which he described as “creative treatment of actuality”.
Over the years there have documentary films of wartime, travelogue, nature, social and political issues, biographies, religion, music, depression and its effects, and so much more.
The purpose of documentary varies and it lies solely on the filmmaker and what it wishes to communicate. A documentary film is a genre of film making that can aim to satisfy curiosity, raise awareness, provide information, inspire people or stir up certain emotions. Otto Landesman says documentary films can be:
Documentary films are factual and there are certain characteristics it contains:
Documentary films keep evolving for different purposes. However, one thing remains, it has to be authentic, factual and nothing but the truth. This article is to educate you on documentary films which is one of Otto Landesman favs.
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