Objectivity Of Documentary Film: Cinema Vérité

1825 words - 7 pages

The ideation of objectivity remains a highly debatable subject among philosophical elites. Some philosophers may argue that human’s understanding of objectivity is subject to the scope of understanding of the term and exposure (Livingstone & Plantinga 10). When the term objectivity is entwined with realism, it yields a complex ideation that remains highly debatable and less agreeable among erudite authors (Livingstone & Plantinga 23). However, to understand and appreciate the concept of realism and objectivity in film, it becomes critical to adopt a definite definition. First, the term reality in film is used to describe concepts that are visible in nature as experienced on a daily life by one or more individuals (Livingstone & Plantinga 24). The term objectivity in this case is used to define a set of ideations or perspectives that are incorporated in the film (Livingstone & Plantinga 24). Documentaries are used to create a form of reality, an experience or ideation of the person or group of person experiencing an event or phenomenon. The argument in this analysis is that it is impossible for documentary films to objectively capture reality.
Objectivity in Scripting and Structure
Traditional ideations of film and documentaries have been to create scripts that are structures to fulfill a set idea. The challenge with scripting an idea is that the script writer(s) have a subjective view of the documentary. The vastness of documenting a situation is restricted by the script making it impossible for a documentary film to capture objective realism in their work.
To understand the subjective ideation of film scripting, one has to consider the various possibilities of changing a section of a scene. There are innumerable possibilities for documentaries to be fashioned in such a way that they incline towards a certain direction and driven to capture a certain emotional or psychological response.
In some cases, filming documentaries does not require scripting. For instance, the concept of cinema vérité, which is French ideation of cinema truth, is prone to subjective connotations. According to Williams (11, 12), cinema vérité demands that the filmmaker take an active role in the documentary. This does not include commenting on the progress of the documentary or creating voice overs but rather being an active participant of the event as it unfolds (Das 62). However, Rivers connotes that the filmmaker, “May provoke a reaction from the subject or may voice an opinion…” (428). This influence comes in various ways ranging from selection of shots and editing as will be discussed later.
For instance, in one scene of the classic cinema vérité documentary Harlan County USA, the crew is physically attacked by the foreman’s men as they film the strike by coal miners. This attack seems a subjective because the attack was because of creating an audio-visual evidence of the incidences rather than the objective reality of a contract needed amendment. The...

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