Modes of Non-Fiction Films. Does Documentary = Real or Truth?.
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The photograph – once we are sure that it is a photograph – cannot lie. But it can be falsely labeled…If we accept that documentary is best defined as a way of perceiving images, we cannot evade the implication that it is blind to the falsity of labels. Documentary will be consequent upon what it appears to show, rather than upon what it necessarily shows; and the relationship between the two is a matter for the filmmakers’ ethics, inaccessible to the viewer. Yet the assumptions which the viewer makes about this relationship, on the basis of signals intended or unintended, will inform his perception of the film. To make a documentary is therefore to persuade the viewer that what appears to be IS.