posted on Jul, 26 2004 @ 03:06 AM
By the way, for you dogmatists who insist that Fahrenheit 9/11 is not a documentary, because a documentary must be 100% factual, with no opinions or
editorializing, here is a diverse list of definitions of "documentary", courtesy of nyarlathotep. NEWSFLASH! You do not get to define words to
mean what you want them to mean. You must accept the commonly accepted meaning of words, rather than creating your own definition to make a point.
Documentary is the creative treatment of actuality."
-- John Grierson, Cinema Quarterly 22.1, 8.
"Documentary defines not subject or style, but approach. ... Documentary approach to cinema differs from that of story-film not in its disregard for
craftsmanship, but in the purpose to which that craftsmanship is put."
--Paul Rotha, Cinema Quarterly, 2.2, 78.
"A non-fiction text using 'actuality' footage, which may include the live recording of events and relevant research materials (i.e. interviews,
statistics, etc.). This kind of text is uually informed by a particular point of view, and seeks to address a particular social issue which is related
to and potentially affects the audience."
--Paul Wells, "The Documentary Form: Personal and Social 'Realities,'" An Introduction to Film Studies, 2nd ed., ed. Jill Nelmes, 212.
"[A]ny film practice that has as its subject persons, events, or situations that exist outside the film in the real world."
--Steve Blandford, Barry Keith Grant, and Jim Hillier, The Film Studies Dictionary, 73.
"A nonfiction film . Documentaries are usually shot on location, use actual persons rather than actors, and focus thematically on historical,
scientific, social, or environmental subjects. Their principle purpose is to enlighten, inform, educate, persuade, and provide insight into the world
in which we live."
--Frank Beaver, Dictionary of Film Terms, 119.
"A nonfiction film about real events and people, often avoiding traditional narrative structures."
--Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film, 4th ed., 206.
"Film of actual events; the events are documented with the real people involved, not with actors."
--Ralph S. Singleton and James A. Conrad, Filmmaker's Dictionary, 2nd ed., 94.
"A documentary film purports to present factual information about the world outside the film."
--David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 5th ed., 42.
"A film or video presentation of actual events using the real people involved and not actors."
--John W. Cones, Film Finance and Distribution, 154.
"A type of film marked by its interpretative handling of realistic subjects and backgrounds. Sometimes the term is applied widely to include films
that appear more realistic than conventional commercial pictures; at other times, so narrowly that only films with a narration track and a background
of real life are so categorized."
--Edmund F. Penney, Facts on File Film and Broadcast Terms, 73.
"A term with a wide latitude of meaning, basically used to refer to any film or program not wholly fictional in nature."
--James Monaco, The Dictionary of New Media, 94.
"A film that deals directly with fact and not fiction, that tries to convey reality as it is instead of some fictional version of reality. These
films are concerned with actual people, places, events, or activities."
--Ira Konigsberg, The Complete Film Dictionary, 2nd ed., 103.
"Unlike most fiction films , documentaries deal with facts--real people, places, and events rather than invented ones. Documentarists believe that
they're not creating a world so much as reporting on the one that already exists."
--Louis Giannetti, Understanding Movies