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Monday 3 November 2014

Deceptive Docufiction

There have been many stunning documentaries. However, there have also been many shockingly inaccurate and misleading documentaries. Michael Moore is probably partly responsible for the rise in partisan documentary films. I am not against the concept in principle, although I often wonder if such films should just be categorized under the label "propaganda" and they be reviewed as such. Nevertheless, there are certainly a good number of opportunities we should afford people to give their personal insights and reflections on important issues and I don't want to deny anyone that freedom. Docufiction is an interesting way to explore certain ideas and I think we have to respect it as its own genre. When it comes to art, I am opposed to most censorship, but when it comes to delivering something that is supposed to be factual the line has been firmly crossed between personal expression and simply misleading your viewers.

 Below are a list of six documentaries that profess to show the truth, are widely cited and they have had direct influence on many people, including future documentary makers. They often present popular ideas that we intuitively want to believe, will reinforce our own biases and sit nicely with our pattern-seeking minds, but they are being deceptive. I think a core discipline of critical thinking is the ability to accept not all arguments on your side of the issue are good ones. I love this quote from the below article from "...if you think something is bullshit, the answer is not more bullshit." So, you might not have been a fan of the Bush administration or Blair's premiership and you might have been opposed to the invasion of Iraq and/or Afghanistan, but that doesn't mean you have to automatically believe every crazy conspiracy theory put forward. It's like being opposed to Hitler and his philosophy, but then saying he hated dogs. In this respect partisan documentaries can be very insidious, especially as they readily borrow so many of the techniques that have made normal fictional feature films so attractive.

 "6 Famous Documentaries That Were Shockingly Full of Crap"