Reflexive mode of Documentary

The Reflexive mode of documentary acknowledges the process of making the documentary by discussing it and the problems faced in making it, the audience are made aware of the editing, sound recording and whatever else goes into the making of a documentary.

Bill Nichols says that “With the reflexive mode there is an awareness of the process- it conveys that it is not necessarily the “truth” but a reconstruction of “a” truth”. For example Dziga Vertov’s “Man with a Movie Camera” (1929) in this film the camera and cameraman become part of the film.

An example of an Reflexive documentary filmmaker is Nick Broomfield and he is known for utilising a minimal crew(sometimes just himself and a camera man) which gives his work a more personal feeling. Many famous film makers have been inspired by his technique.

One other example of a reflexive documentary is NightMooreFilms “The Making of” which depicts a lot of the equipment and people talking about the process of the film making, the Way the documentary is cleverly edited to disrupt the audience’s suspension of dis-belief. One example would a scene where it shows two people talking about something and then the screen zooms out and the audience realizes they have been watching a Final cut program.


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