Review The Film With Emphasis On The Methods Used In Capturing The Real In Salaam Cinema.

945 words - 4 pages

A documentary is defined as a film that offers a factual report on a specific subject. John Grierson, who created the term, documentary, stated that a documentary is a "creative treatment of actuality" (Huffman 2001). However, 'creativity' differs in filmmakers. Writer Richard MacCann argues that only 'real people' should star in documentaries, as an actor cannot duplicate the emotions of real scenarios. On the other hand, filmmaker Robert Flaherty considered that adding fiction to documentaries is acceptable as long as the content is not compromised (Huffman 2001).This debate blurs the lines of a documentary and a fictional film. A fiction can be considered as the experience of an imagined world but a documentary is a second-hand experience of the world (Kees 2002). Iranian director, Moshen Makhmalbaf mixes fiction and documentary (Traverso and Mhando 2005) in his critically acclaimed film, Salaam Cinema (Moshen Makhmalbaf, 1995). This essay examines the Iranian film with emphasis on the methods used to capture the "Real".In celebration of the 100th anniversary of cinema, acclaimed director, Moshen Makhmalbaf places an advertisement in the papers calling for an open casting in a film. The audition asks for 100 people but thousands show up. The documentary displays the audition process with different people explaining their reasons to star in the film.Drawing a line between cinematic and social realms (Traverso and Mhando 2005), Salaam Cinema is a docu-drama that provides an illustration of the Iranian society and the power of cinema in their culture. Some themes in the film include hierarchy, the question of humanity and the perception of using cinema as a shortcut to resolve problems (O'Brien 2012). Makhmalbaf's films are visually symbolic; usually exploring the relationship between the individual and a larger social environment in Iran. It is no different in Salaam Cinema.While creating Salaam Cinema, Mahkmalbaf was motivated by his desire to engage with the "Real" thus using a number of methods to capture it (Traverso and Mhando 2005). Using vérité footage at the beginning of the film is one method of capturing the "Real". Originally created by Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov, Cinema vérité is a style of documentary filmmaking that uses the camera to unveil the truth or hidden reality (cited in Fous) it is set up solely for the film. The opening sequence of Salaam Cinema shows hoards of hopefuls, waiting to be auditioned. It is then used again when Makhmalbaf and his crew throw audition forms in the air, resulting in frenzy, with people, even women, getting injured. Using this style is a form of evidence to gain truth and reality to the audience.Another method used in capturing the "Real" is the documentary modes used in the film. Identifying the modes of representation is a way to examine a documentary. Modes used in Salaam...

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