Fascinating Video Essays

Posts tagged directing

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Fiction and nonfiction share two essential elements—imagination and emotion—and that’s where the use of reenactments in documentaries betrays the filmmaker. The essence of imagination is seeing what isn’t there—getting an idea on the basis of another idea—and the reenactment is, for the most part, a short-circuiting of imagination.

In “The Jinx,” whatever chill might be aroused by the notion of plastic bags filled with Morris Black’s body parts floating in a bay is dispelled by the actual vision of some other plastic bags, procured and filled and tossed on Jarecki’s behalf and filmed by Jarecki…

Such reenactments are insults to the audience—they assume that audiences can’t imagine anything like what the filmmaker is getting at—and they reflect the filmmaker’s own sense of impotence to create, by the assemblage of nonfiction material, an idea of what he has in mind. It’s a lack of confidence not just in the assembled material but in his own creative power.

Richard Brody in The New Yorker (via thirdsomething)

Filed under The Jinx Reenactments history nonfiction storytelling directing