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Film as a Debate Moderator: Significant Historical Documentaries

by Jack Among the Actors
Film as a Debate Moderator: Significant Historical Documentaries by Jack Among the Actors
A camera has the wonderful ability to possess some kind of ontological capabilities that enable well-made (popular) historical documentaries not only, in the words of film theorist Bill Nichols, to “describe and interpret the world of collective experience” but to participate in “the actual construction of social reality” and thus, the construction of collective memory. The following titles – listed in order of release – were all fabricated with the intention of keeping that collective memory up to the mark and giving image and sound to the multiperspectivity of the events. Makers of such films achieve this by constantly negotiating between… Read more

A camera has the wonderful ability to possess some kind of ontological capabilities that enable well-made (popular) historical documentaries not only, in the words of film theorist Bill Nichols, to “describe and interpret the world of collective experience” but to participate in “the actual construction of social reality” and thus, the construction of collective memory. The following titles – listed in order of release – were all fabricated with the intention of keeping that collective memory up to the mark and giving image and sound to the multiperspectivity of the events. Makers of such films achieve this by constantly negotiating between cognitive, moral, and aesthetic demands in order to guard the analyzed events from misinterpretation. I decided not to include drama-documentaries. Of course every history documentary features dramatic elements and there are a couple of formally very interesting efforts like ‘Culloden’ and ‘Band of Brothers’, but I feel re-enactment lacks firm basis in past reality.

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