Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Should All Documentaries Be Objective?
The NYTimes looks at the documentary films making the Oscars shortlist this year and raises up an issue: is the Michael moore style of filmmaking dangerous and bad? Foolishly, pioneer Albert Maysles thinks all documentaries should be dispassionate and not betray a point of view whenever possible. Of course, that's a perfectly valid way to make a documentary film -- indeed perhaps most documentary films should be objective. But surely it's not the ONLY type of documentary that should be made. Just like a newspaper needs objective articles, news analysis, commentary, editorials, opinion columns and letters to the editor, the documentary world needs dispassionate films, angry films, personal films, cries from the heart, muckraking and furious denunciations. Michael Moore is annoying if you disagree with him (or if his blustering gets in the way of a good film). So is Bill O'Reilly. Both have their place and when either distorts the FACTS they can and will be called on it.