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  • Author or Editor: László Tarnay x
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The method and the formal-technical language of documentary filmmaking have expanded so much that the traditional divide between documentary and fiction cannot be reasonably held. Animation has also claimed its place among the possible devices of a documentary film. Consequently, a documentary no longer wears its ’truthfulness’ on its sleeve. The cues of documentary that were used historically, like archival footage or talking heads, are eclipsed by cognitively engaging interactive camera work provoking viewer’s identification. The dilemma that a would-be documentary filmmaker is necessarily confronted with is between perceptual realism and representational realism. An image cannot show the ’original’: it can only declare it in a meta-communication about the image. In the history of film the self-referential ‘dead-end’ of the ‘ontological’ image is expressed by a camera filming the ‘eye’ of another camera. The self-referentiality of documentary filmmaking also entails that documenting is necessarily gappy: it always leaves certain things unsaid or hidden. The story it tells has its own important lacunae. It is the Unsaid of a documentary, and not so much the representation’s truthfulness and that constitutes the ethical source for the viewer.

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