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THERE IS NOTHING MORE PRACTICAL THAN A GOOD FILM THEORY

By Henry Breitrose

Department of Communication Stanford University

USEFULL THEORIES FOR TEACHING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS

I’m interested in useful theories for teaching the practice of documentary film making. Perhaps the most important word in that first sentence is “useful” because the arts and humanities in general, film in particular, and documentary film specifically, have not been deprived of “theory.” While film theory has provided considerable academic employment for humanists, which on the whole I take to be a social good, I believe that production students have been grievously misled by theories that are not only useless, for practical purposes, but frequently toxic to their ability to clearly see. The social psychologist Kurt Lewin said that there is nothing so challenging as a practical problem. He also said that there is nothing so practical as a good theory. While there is a plethora of theories about theory, we lack helpful theories about practical problems.

In teaching documentary film and video making in a professional graduate program, I meet superbly well-qualified students who have been educated at some of the best universities in the world. While we insist that our students are well-educated and have some experience, we don’t insist on an undergraduate film or media- studies degree. On the contrary, we are deeply suspicious of applicants who have studied film as undergraduates, because too

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frequently there is a need to de-toxify their imagination. They can tell us all about “the gaze” and the gays, and invoke Gledhill, Foucault, DeMan, Derrida, Deleuze, and proclaim that the very act of photographing an “other” is a statement of political oppression or that the very act of photographing an “other” is intrinsically transgressive, and thus an act of courage, or that the very act of photographing an “other” pushes the envelope too far because it is intrusive, or not far enough because it is not overtly reflexive, or that it invades personal space, or that it deconstructs the myth of autonomy, or that it constitutes symbolic assault.

None of this strikes me as particularly useful in getting ideas on the screen with clarity, precision, and economy, which, perhaps somewhat naively, I take to be the basic requirements of documentary, much as George Orwell took them to be the essential elements of the non-fiction essay.

How could this have happened? In America, I think that this is the result of the rise of “Cinema Studies” as a distinct discipline, different from its antecedent, the plain-vanilla, slightly outlaw, and not quite academically respectable “Film,” which, compared with Art and Drama was the new kid on the creative arts block. It was signaled by the invention of the Society of Cinematologists, latterly known as the Society for Cinema Studies, whose founding actually preceded what a colleague refers “The French Disease,” the importation of the trendy, the transient, and the poorly translated

latest news from the deep thinkers of the rive gauche

I was present

at the birth of the SCS, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York sometime around 1960, when Robert Gessner, who taught film at NYU, made the case that in order for film to be accepted as legitimate in academia, it must establish its scholarly credentials by forming a professional society that looked just like the older ones.

Thus the origins of the “great Anglo-Saxon schism,” because being academically traditional meant that the new organization would not

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deal with the actual making of film, as did the existing University Film Association, many of whose members actually made films, but rather that it be about film. (It reminds me of the line in Beyond The Fringe, a popular English comedy review of the 1960’s that spawned Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett. Miller asks Bennett “Do you know algebra?” Bennett replies “Certainly not, but I know about algebra.” That Professor Gessner proposed that the constitution of the new group be modeled on that of the American Metaphysical Society was neither a shock nor a surprise. That the delegates from USC, who actually taught students how to make films, fled the meeting in horror was no surprise either.)

But surely, the Theory and Practice dichotomy wasn’t invented by Professor Gessner, nor was it uniquely about film. It was about ways of thinking about the world.

In her paper “Theory and Praxis in Aristotle and Heidegger i ,” Catriona Hanley notes that for Aristotle, Theoría meant the activity of contemplation of necessary objects. Actual production, the making of things, consisted of praxis and poíésis, and unlike Theoria, which required only the necessary object for contemplation, it required knowledge of “contingent objects,” those objects and events necessary and sufficient for the existence of the “object of contemplation.” In film language, rawstock, laboratories, cameras, lenses, are examples of the stuff on which the film, “the object of contemplation, is contingent.” Theoria need deal with only the finished film, the necessary object of contemplation, stripped of praxis and poíésis.

Poíésis aims at a goal, as distinct from the process of achieving the goal. It is the intention, the target audience, the purpose of the proposed film, while praxis is the process of attaining the goal. For Aristotle, theoria, the contemplation of the necessary object, and the poíésis and praxis which enabled its production, were two sides of the same drachma.

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For many of our students, very phrase “theory and practice” is associated with Karl Marx. István Mészáros gives us an interesting interpretation of this distinction in his discussion of Marx’s Theory of Alienation in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Marx, ever the dialectician, needed two categories for a proper dialectic (it won’t work with three) so he combined Poeisis with Praxis as the action components, and he put them in opposition to Theoria, or as he put it in German, Theorie.

Mészáros tells us that Marx was greatly concerned about the separation of theorie and praxis in philosophy. Theorie, Marx argued, had somehow become divorced from practice, and functions as a domain unto itself, proclaiming independent and universal powers. He describes Marx’s critique of theorie without praxis:

“Thus instead of being a universal dimension of all activity, integrated in practice and in its various reflections, it functions as an independent (“verselbständigt”) “alienated universality”, displaying the absurdity of this whole system of alienations by the fact that this fictitious “universality” is realised as the most esoteric of all esoteric specialities, strictly reserved for the alienated “high priests” (the “Eingeweihten”) of this intellectual trade.

… the “abstractly contemplative” character of philosophy expresses the radical divorce of theory and practice in its alienated universality. ii

Examining Marx’s 1844 ideas reminds us of how prescient the great man was about certain aspects of the world to come, even if his theories

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about political and economic organization didn't work out very well in praxis. In 1844 Marx anticipated the contemporary academic “theory” industry, in which alienated “high priests” of the intellectual trade would make assertions of the universality of their theories, independent from practice. Those of us who have seen semiotics, structuralism, critical theory, deconstruction, post-modernism, and other esoteric specialities claim universality, and then fall out of fashion, will be tempted to a nod or perhaps even a smile of recognition. The problem is not that these weren’t “good” ideas, as much as it was that they became orthodoxies that pronounced Fatwa and declared intellectual Jihad on other theories.

There are theories about why the very idea of documentary is impossible, why objectivity is impossible, why Photoshop has made documentary untenable, why everything pretending to be factual or fictional is but a discourse and all discourses are equally privileged, why all discourses are fictions, and all reality is social construction. These are not useful theories. Indeed, they are profoundly unhelpful. They don’t do a very good job of helping the film maker think deeply about what he or she is doing, which I take to be one of the more valuable aspects of theoretical work in other disciplines. Most film theories are not particularly useful as predictors, nor do they spawn useful ways for documentary film makers to make sense of the world. In my view, making sense of the world is what we’re really about when we teach documentary film making.

Let me put aside the very useful physical theories of photography, optics and acoustics with which all film makers should be acquainted, and let us agree that the film theories of Kuleshov, Eisenstein, Pudokvin, even Dziga Vertov and Mitry, all informed by practice, can be useful to all film students. As a teacher, I’m interested in theory that gives the young documentary-maker some confidence in the non-fiction enterprise, and theory that helps him or her craft a work that is honest and that succeeds in engaging the audience, and presenting the the really true story in ways that are clear, instructive, and edifying. I like the word “edifying” because of its precise derivation, from Late Latin aedificare, to instruct or improve

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spiritually. I think that understanding a complex aspect of the real world is literally edifying. An elegantly crafted work that helps us make sense of an aspect of our world gives us pleasure and lifts the spirit.

In useful modern theory, I think that the Cognitive Theorists who work mainly in psychology have a great deal to say about how we make sense of the world. Torben Grodal notes that while romantic and psychoanalytic theories of film, mainly imported from the academic study of literature, plumb the unconscious for the “true context,” cognitive psychology provides rather more satisfying results. iii The cognitivists tell us that by virtue of evolution and physiology, humans have developed certain ways of dealing with information. Some aspects of the world are more salient to us than are others, and emotions have developed to represent our strongest interests and goals. Simply stated, we feel strongly about those things we are interested in: a romantic partner, the World Cup, social justice, protection of the environment, globalization, religion, for example. Our emotions are strong motivating forces that control our attention and action. Our cognitive skills enable us to analyze situations that are interesting to us, in ways that help us achieve our goals. Thus, depending on the subject and the audience, we can expect that documentaries will be attended to in very different ways, and we can use theory to think about how the structure of the documentary ought to mediate between the content and the presumed audience.

These analytic aspects of our cognitive skills are of great interest, because we share a strong tendency to analyze by inventing narrative in order to make sense of things that might otherwise be random objects and events. Dorrit Cohn gives us a useful definition of narrative as a “series of statements that deal with a causally related sequence of events that concern human (or human-like) beings.” iv David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson point out that audience postulate causal connections between the most disparate images, and even random montage attains narrative status. v All useful theoretical perspectives.

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From the intensely practical outlook of documentary production, much of this translates to the observation that people tend to structure objects and events as narrative, composed of chains of cause-effect, in chronological time

. The narratives are ways of analyzing persons, objects and events that are of interest, in ways that are consistent with furthering the achievement of their goals. (We meet poíésis in the strangest places. Here, it arises among the cognitive theorists. )

Since cognitivists demonstrate that no matter what, narrative happens, then a useful theory would be one that helps our students understand narrative structure. There are several. Some prefer Bakhtin, others Propp, but my nominations for very useful theories are Aristotle’s Poetics, and Kenneth Burke’s Grammar of Motives as a reasonable neo- Aristotelian alternative. Aristotle, in his Poetics, tells us about how to tell stories, and alerts us to the structural elements of exposition, complication, conflict, climax, and resolution. In short, he describes the narrative arc, or in documentary terms, a through-line.

Burke elaborates this scheme and re-frames it. In his “pentad” of terms he tells us about structure and about the necessary elements of a narrative arc when we try to explain why something happened.

“We shall use five terms as generating principle of our investigation. They are: Act, Scene, Agent, Agency, Purpose. In a rounded statement about motives, you must have some word that names the act (names what took place, in thought or deed), and another that names the scene (the background of the act, the situation in which it occurred); also, you must indicate what person or kind of person (agent) performed the act, what means or instruments he used (agency), and the purpose. Men may violently disagree about the purposes behind a given act, or about the character of the person who did it, or how he did it, or in what kind of situation he acted;

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or they may even insist upon totally different words to name the act itself. But be that as it may, any complete statement about motives will offer some kind of answers to these five questions: what was done (act), when or where it was done (scene), who did it (agent), how he did it (agency), and why (purpose)' vi

Aristotle and Burke, among others, are helpful with story telling, but if a documentary is, as I contend, a really true story, how do we help our students understand the idea of “really true.”

Epistemology, together with aesthetics and ethics, is the tripod on which classical philosophy rests. It is a recurring concern in the discussion of documentary, and to borrow a phrase from Bordwell, et al, these days pretty well “post-theory” in that it is a discipline suspicious of sweeping claims of universality, and relies on logic and rationality. vii The most useful contemporary theory is Critical Realism. Two important proponents are John Searle, who is a logician and linguistic philosopher, and Noël Carroll, who is an aesthetician and film scholar and whose home, unlike most writers on the aesthetics of film, is in an actual department of philosophy. They both deal with critical realism.

In an article entitled "Literary Theory and its Discontents," John Searle viii argues that there are three different theoretical approaches to questions concerning the meaning of texts. Here, Searle appears to refer specifically to literary texts and literary theory, but to separate his argument from film is to create a distinction without making a difference.

The three approaches are those of Stanley Fish, who believes that meaning resides solely in the response of the reader; Stephen Knapp and Walter Michaels, who assert that that meaning is entirely a matter of the authors intention; and Jacques Derrida, whose position seems to be that that meanings are “’undecidable’ and have ‘relative indeterminacy'”…or not. Searle illustrates by quoting Derrida’s statement that , “there is

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rather the free play of signifiers and the grafting of texts onto texts within the textuality and intertextuality of the text.” ix

Ironically, Derridarians and other post-modernists are very concerned about clearly drawn categorical distinctions, such as the distinction between fiction and fact. This may well be the residue of the French encyclopedistes, who specialized in the manufacture of exquisite intellectual pigeon holes and clearly mutually exclusive categories.

Curiously, Critical Realism, which derives from the rigorous British tradition of analytic philosophy (Searle was a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s student, Peter Strawson, at Oxford) is comfortable with the absence of precisely drawn boundaries, and accepts that philosophical distinctions inevitably have imprecise edges that allow for rough “more or less” kinds of distinctions. That is to say, while there may be certain similarities between two objects and events, we recognize that they are more-or-less different from one another.

The relevance for the documentary maker is that the categorical distinction between fictional and factual, or literal and metaphorical, or even true and false are valid even if they are not sharply exclusive. In my view, that’s why Chris Marker and Robert Flaherty and Frederic Wiseman, and Dziga Vertov and Michael Apted all are appropriately described as documentary film makers. In a nutshell, something may be different from something else even if it is more or less different, and not absolutely different. Even a rough distinction is a difference, if there is general acceptance. Derrida and the Derridarians don’t agree, and his that unless there is a sharply drawn dichotomous distinction, there is no difference at all.

In the introduction to his anthology Theorizing Documentary, a deceptive title for an un-useful book, Michael Renov essentially attacks the fundamental and underlying premise of documentary, which is that there is a difference between fact and fiction. x He basis this on the claim that all discursive forms use similar methods

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and rhetorical figures. He quotes Hayden White, who argues that there are no objects, only social constructions, that “all discourse constitutes the objects which it pretends only to describe realistically and to analyze objectively.” xi Renov argues that the techniques used in fiction films, like cross-cutting and flashbacks are used in films that represent themselves as nonfiction, and that techniques associated with non-fiction films, such as handheld camera are used in fiction films.

Noël Carroll points out that the distinction between fiction and nonfiction is not one of formal technique, and the extent to which one uses formal methods associated with the other is of no particular relevance.

Carroll argues that audiences generally are able to determine whether a film is fiction or nonfiction by virtue of the film coming to the audience with its factual or fictional status inherently visible. As he and Carl Plantinga put it, it arrives “indexed.” Audiences are generally pretty smart about distinguishing between fictional and non-fictional films, and film makers who index fiction as non-fiction inevitably reveal the fictional nature as part of the plot structure of the film, usually through some absurd assertion. One need only think of Zelig or This is Spinal Tap to get this idea.

Searle, a philosopher, clarifies the situation of the documentary film maker, who by the very act of making a film imposes a narrative structure on a set of sounds and images. In the same manner as Renov, one might argue, and many do, that the use of narrative is what fiction film makers do, and therefore there is no fundamental categorical distinction between fiction and so-called factual or non-fiction or documentary film makers. But, even roughly speaking, there is an immense difference, a veritable chasm, between drawing sounds and images from the imagination and using the artistic imagination to make sense of the sounds and images that one finds in the real world.

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Brian Winston recognized that even so obviously reconstructed a film as Humphrey Jennings’ Fires Were Started was properly a documentary xii . Winston drastically revised his previous position, xiii in which he seemed to negate the very possibility of documentary. Writing about Grierson’s famously elusive definition of documentary, the “creative treatment of actuality,” Winston wrote “Surely, no ‘actuality’ (that is, evidence and witness) can remain after all this brilliant interventionist ‘creative treatment’ (that is, artistic and dramatic structuring) has gone on. Grierson’s enterprise was too self-contradictory to sustain any claims on the real, and renders the term ‘documentary’ meaningless.”

While the truth claims of Fires Were Started differ radically from the observational fly-on-the-wall or reflexive fly-in-the-soup direct cinema paradigms, it is certainly is a documentary. As Grierson rather modestly put it in the original coinage, when describing Robert Flaherty’s Moana, “it has a certain documentary quality.” The documentary quality, I believe, derives from the correspondence between the subject matter on the screen and what we know of the world, but even more importantly, from the ways in which Jennings organized images and sounds drawn from the real world to create a credible model of the world on the screen.

Searle’s theoretical ideas are useful in several other ways. Ever since Jean Rouch brought his Éclair camera and Perfectone tape recorder to Ghana and made Le Maitre Fou, observational film makers have avoided expending very much energy to helping their audiences understand what they were seeing on the screen. The usual explanation often invoked “purity,” or “objectivity,” or “protecting against bias,” and many audiences were suitably confounded.

Implicit interpretation, by means of the selection of subject, structure, frame, usable takes, sounds, and the other means of film making was accepted as “pure,” or ethically superior to overt explanation narration, because words somehow interfered with the proper allegedly unbiased

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apprehension of the film. The standard Frederick Wiseman-model documentary maker’s response to a puzzled audiences was that “the film speaks for itself.”

Searle helpfully points out that “…meanings, concepts, and intentionality by themselves are never sufficient to determine the full import of what is said or thought because they only function within a Network of other intentionality and against a Background of capacities that are not and could not be included in literal meaning, concepts, or intentional states.” xiv In other words, the meaning of a communication, a shot, a sequence, a film, relies on the understanding of a rich bed of contexts in which the communication itself resides.

The student documentary maker would be well advised to consider his or her intentions and the intentional systems of the audience, as well as the background of knowledge and abilities that the audience brings to the screen. In plain language, it is useful for the student to deeply consider his intentions and goals in the film (poesis, yet again) and give thought to the predispositions, and the degree of knowledge and concern that both film maker and audience bring to the documentary transaction. It is useful for the audience to understand what’s on the screen, and for the film maker to understand that if the audience doesn’t “get it” then it is a film maker’s problem and not the problem of the audience.

In his book The Construction of Social Reality, xv Searle addresses the issue of socially constructed reality. The title of his book is a sly word-play, by re- ordering “social construction” to read “construction of social " much the same way as Marx re-ordered the title of Proudhon’s book Philosophy of Poverty to entitle his book “The Poverty of Philosophy.” Like Marx’s response to Proudhon, it Searle gives a critique of the view that reality is a social construct and exists only as it is subjectively perceived. For Prudhon, poverty was a social construct. For Marx is was an objective fact. The recognition of objective facts, people, objects and events that exist in the

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world whether or not we see them, is a most useful conjoining of theory and practice for documentary film makers, The confounding of subjective perception with what Noel Carroll, describes as “post-modern skepticism” about whether the world exists apart from ourselves is endemic among students, especially non-scientists, but for the documentary student, the existence of an objective world is a fundamental concern, because it lies directly on the cleavage plane between objective fact and subjectively imagined fiction.

Searle helps students understand that there is indeed a real world out there, that it is comprised of facts, and that the facts are of two types:

some facts are "brute facts" that they exist independently of what humans think, and others are “social facts,” which depend for their existence on human thought. The first sort are mental facts, such as that one is in pain, and the physical facts that Mount Everest has snow and ice at its summit, and hydrogen atoms have one electron. xvi

Examples of social facts, are that this piece of paper is a five dollar bill, that he is a citizen of the U. S., and that the New York Giants won the 1991 Superbowl. Social facts exist as a layer superimposed on physical facts. Thus, the physical fact of particular ink inscribed on specific paper in a unique way is a physical fact. The social fact is that it’s a dollar bill, is incontestably objective, too. If the ink and the paper and the inscription are not correct, then we may argue about whether or not it is counterfeit, but this can be objectively determined.

As a logician and a philosopher of language, Searle observes that “At least one of the functions of language is to communicate meanings from speakers to hearers, and sometimes those meanings enable the communication to refer to objects and states of affairs in the world that exist independently of language.” xvii Although film and video are not precisely languages, but are language-like, the formulation still makes sense for documentary. We make documentaries to communicate meanings from film makers to audience

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members, and sometimes those meanings enable the documentary to refer to objects and states of the world that exist independently of language. The process of acquiring and displaying images enables us to replace the verbal description of objects and states of affairs in the real world with more direct and less abstracted representations than words. The goal, not always realized, is for the film maker and the audience member to share the same thought about a reality independent of either.

What, then, is a useful way of helping students struggle with the idea of truth in documentary? The correspondence theory in epistemology, which is a pretty useful theory, states that truth is whether the things in the world really are the way we say they are. In philosophical language, a statement is true if and only if the statement corresponds with the facts. One of the functions of language, and I would argue one of the functions of documentary, is to truthfully represent how things are in the world by ensuring that statements correspond to facts.

Noël Carrol asks whether the non-fiction film delivers truth? Does it or can it represent the world in objective ways? The argument goes like this:

After all, the acts of framing and editorial choice are acts of selection, and selectivity is necessarily biased. The problem is built into the very apparatus of cinema. Since cinema is, by its very nature, selective, it is by its very nature biased, and incapable of objectivity. xviii But is there something in the preceding argument that makes nonfiction film any more incapable of objectivity than, say, a sociological treatise? Does selectivity guarantee bias? If that’s the case, we may as well abandon the documentary enterprise, and sociology, and science, all of which are based on the twin ideas of selectivity and objectivity.

Carroll argues that selectivity isn’t particularly unique to film. Every mode of inquiry is selective, whether it be physics or history or journalism. But if we don’t consider that the selectively accumulated facts of history or physics or economics or chemistry “ are “exiled from objectivity” in

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Carroll’s words, why should we assume that nonfiction films can never, a priori, be objective?

The Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria, the boiling point of water at sea level, the value of the Euro in U.S. dollars, sodium chloride are selected facts, but objective facts nevertheless. Searle suggests that if you don’t accept this, take your car to the post-modernist garage and listen to the post-modernist theorist tell you that there’s nothing wrong with your carburetor, because after all, the carburetor is a selective social construction.

Does selectivity necessarily entail bias? Carroll points out that selectivity certainly invites bias, but it does not guarantee bias. Neither does the non-fiction nature of documentary guarantee objectivity, but it certainly allows it.

Protection against bias. and need to ensure of the objectivity of any statement is not unique to film. All manner of discourses have protocols that work to diminish the opportunity for bias. Do they work all the time? Certainly not, but they work much, perhaps most, of the time. For the student, I would argue the most important protocol, the most important protection against bias and assurance of truth, is self-awareness. Being aware of what one is doing is a powerful way of encouraging self-regulation. In documentary, the normative assumption is that the film maker tells the truth, and bias or untruth is open to determination by colleagues and critics in the public forum. After all, documentary film is not a private art.

As an example of how this works, consider the case of Michael Moore and his film about the ethical failings of General Motors, Roger and Me. To a great extent, the film, like many films, bases its argument and analysis on causal connections and chronological narrative. The argument is roughly that General Motors did something in its self-interest, which caused bad things to happen to its workers. In this more of argument, when the historical facts and causal connections are distorted because of bias, the film maker is put in

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the uncomfortable position of defending a falsified argument, usually on grounds that some “higher truth” justifies playing fast and loose with facts and chronology. The film critic Pauline Kael’s criticized Roger and Me because events were presented out of chronological order and the implied chain of causation was incorrect. A newspaper reporter described Moore’s reaction as follows: “Moore has heard this criticism a lot lately. Yes, events are presented out of order in his film, he says. ``So what? I'm tired of it. It avoids talking about the politics of the story. Your story is not gonna be in the sequential order you reported it in. So what's the accusation, that I'm a journalist?” xix

Essentially Moore is saying that the altering of chronology to make causal connections for his noble purposes is well within the canons of journalism, what one might describe as the “history will absolve me” defense. Journalists frequently lose their jobs for that sort of logic. Thus, the protocol of film criticism serves to guard against bias.

But what is allowable? How much may the documentarian creatively treat actuality? In my view, the appropriate standards of objectivity depend on the context. Take, for example, the films of the Canadian/Australian film maker Michael Rubbo. My favorite is probably Daisy, which uses the objective events of Daisy de Bellefeuille’s, face-lift as an armature around which to construct a meditation on the idea of –physical beauty.

Daisy is a colleague of Rubbo’s at the National Film Board of

Rubbo uses the tropes of observational documentary to

record the objective reality of Daisy’s facelift, but as he does in many of his films, he introduces a deeply reflexive accompanying through-line, which is his clearly personal, biased and somewhat idiosyncratic meditation on the idea of beauty. Does the bias matter? Hardly, because in the context of the film, he presents what Searle would recognize as objects and states of the world that exist

Canada

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independently of language, and one side of a conversation into which the audience member is invited to participate, on the meaning of the face lift as a “social fact.”

There are other useful theories for documentary practice, but little time in which to discuss them in detail. I think that cognitive theory is rich mine of ideas, especially as documentary intersects with digital technologies and non-linear modes of presentation. Knowing how human beings organize their perceptual and conceptual worlds cannot but be useful.

In my own thinking, I’ve been influenced by two books, that are actually and specifically about documentary film, each deeply influenced by Critical Realism, and intelligently in tune with the interests and concerns of documentary film makers. Carl Plantinga’s Rhetoric and Representation in Non-Fiction Film xx and the somewhat less well known What is Non-Fiction Cinema? xxi by Trevor Ponech, are chock full of interesting and challenging ideas for students of documentary production, and I recommend them with enthusiasm, as ways to help our students learn how to tell really true stories.

i Presented at the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, in Boston, Massachusetts from August 10-15, 1998. Available on-line at http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Acti/ActiHanl.htm

István Mészáros, Marx’s Theory of Alienation, New York:1972, Harper Torchbooks, p. 103

iii Torben Grodal. “Emotions, Cognitions and Narrative Patterns in Film” in Carl Plantinga and Greg M. Smith, Passionate Views, Baltimore and London: 1998, Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 127

ii

iv

Dorrit Cohn , The Distinction of Fiction, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999, p.

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v David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film As Art, 3 rd . ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 1990. p.

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vi Burke, Kenneth

A Grammar of Motives. Berkeley: Univ. of California 1945 p.XV

John R. Searle, “Literary Theory and its Discontents,” New Literary History, 1994, 25:637—

667

ix Searle, (1994) p. 7

x Michael Renov, “Introduction: The Truth About Non-Fiction” in Theorizing Documentary,

(ed.) Michael Renov. NY:Routledge, 1993, p. 3

xi

xii

ibid. p.7

Brian Winston, Fires Were Started, London: British Film Institute, 1999. 79p.

Searle, 1995, p.35

xiii Brian Winston, Claiming the Real, London : British Film Institute, 1995. xiv Searle (1994) p. 6

xv John R. Searle, The Construction of Social Reality , New York: Free Press, 1995
xvi

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xvii John R. Searle. “Rationality and Realism, What is at Stake” Daedalus, Fall, 1993, p. 61 xviii Noël Carrol, “Nonfiction Film and Postmodernist Skepticism,” in David Bordwell and Noel Carroll (eds.) Post-theory : Reconstructing Film Studies, Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, 1996, p.283 xix Sheryl James, “A hometown film maker's drama in Wheel Life // Film drives home a point about GM and the fall of Flint, Mich.,” St. Petersburg Times; St. Petersburg; Jan 21, 1990; xx Carl R. Plantinga, Rhetoric and Representation in Non-Fiction Film, Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1997.

xxi Trevor Ponech, What is Non-Fiction Cinema – On the Very Idea of Motion Picture Communication, Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press, 1999.