Posts Tagged ‘film’


July 8th, 2011

There are three types of documentary films.

The first, and I’m afraid I tend to associate this with the BBC, is basically a stretched news item dragged out with interviews of outraged or distressed victims / or some variation of a freak-show dressed up an a documentary (Channel 4 are the main offenders for the latter).  They are normally as memorable as last week’s news items.

The second, and this is where C4 redeems itself, is an issue based documentary, often with some sort of celebrity endorsement, which tells a good story.  A good example would be Hugh’s Fish Fight.  Sometimes lacking detail and often a sense of balance in addition to the dramatic visuals, overall I would still say these are a good effort.  They also raise awareness because they tend to last long enough to become the subject of office-chat the next day.

Finally, the rarest is the sort of feature documentary which makes the viewer adjust their world view.  The viewer goes to bed thinking about the issue, and wakes up thinking about the issue.  The trouble with these films is they get such a limited distribution or release that hardly anyone sees them. The first I saw like this was the AIDS documentary A Closer Walk, which probably would have been even more unknown than it was had it not been narrated by Glenn Close.

More recently, I’d add the HBO commission Teenage Paparazzo, which aired on C4 at stupid o’clock earlier this year.  It posed some really interesting (and presently very topical) questions about journalism, celebrity culture and how this influences the aspirations of young people.

I wonder if some upcoming documentary filmmaker could be tempted to consider the issue of legal aid?

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