Documentary film

the documentary film is to be told a film, in which one tries to illustrate aspects us surrounding world or examined. Contrary to the feature this (mostly) happens without engaged actors or paid actors. To their place humans, places, step situations, alsotold stories agree.

There is itself a large range of different kinds of documentary film, from the attempt of creating as pure a document as possible extended over the Doku Soap up to the Doku drama. The production of the Filmers plays a great importance: As one goes with the foundPictures over? What is supplemented, strengthened? A further step is that sequels of scenes, which could thus have taken place, or took place partially also in such a way (Reenactment up to the Doku drama). From the spectators again become often particularly strongly produced pictures forgenuinly held.

Table of contents

truth and authenticity

to a documentary film the requirement raised to be authentic. Affected by the presence of the camera and the camera team the situations however always, even if only slightly.In order to give to the spectator the possibility of judging the authenticity of the seen even respectable documentary films make kind and extent of the influence with suitable means transparency. The authenticity of a documentation depends however not only on authenticity of the event, but also on its Repräsentativität. Throughthe representation of a scene is implicitly suggested with missing explanation that it concerns in possibly a way a typical scene. Also the point of view of the film producer and its showing rates comments. In the sense there are none „genuine “documentary film.

“For me is itrather no matter, with which means a film works whether it is an actor film with produced pictures or a documentary film. In a good film it concerns around the truth, not the reality. “ One works Sergej iron stone,

1925 with some animal documentations with trained animals. Inthis case is present no documentation in the actual sense. Frequently the scene is consciously affected in addition, by the turning team, e.g. by provocation of the animals. Here the character of a documentation remains protected only if the influence is made for the spectator transparency or certainly a typicalEvent (emerge a booty animal) corresponds. In a notorious negative example, the film White Wilderness, which received 1958 a Academy Award, technicians designed roll themselves Disney company a snow-covered turning table, in order to produce the impression from wildly around-erring Lemmingen to, itself then over oneCliff into the sea fell. This deception affects to today the popular amplifier change in of Lemmingen. They actually move occasionally in swarms, commit themselves however no mass suicide.

The genuine documentary film differs from the many documentary formats by its journalistic-scientific search and history, thoseat least tries to approximate the truth and/or. on a probability constructs. Crucial characteristic is it however that „a time document develops “, i.e. a picture sequence, which is ungespielt and unique.

Increased there is also TV-transmissions, which suggest substantial to the spectator, it became around a documentationact, although actually after a film script or a like one plays (see pseudo Doku).

The experimental documentary film as Untergattung of the experimental film uses spielerisch elements and conventions of the documentary film.


of beginnings

Rudolf Pöch
of Rudolf pound

first “moved pictures” were by definition of documentary films.Were individual attitudes, the moments from the life on film avoided (the course, which brings in into the station, the andockende boat, the workers, who leave the factory, see brothers Lumière). In the early film, end of 19. Century dominated still the representation of events.Hardly stories were told, this particularly due to technical borders: The cameras were large and had only place for little Filmmaterial.

When pioneer of the documentary film applies among other things the Austrian Ethnograph Rudolf pounds, that 1901 - 1906 sensational photographs of the indigenen peoples New Guinea in picture and clay/tone arrive.

1920er years

Flaherty in the year 1922 produced Robert J. Flaherty the first evening-filling documentary film, “Nanuk, the Eskimo “. Already in this film the documentary film of the “truth” said good-bye: Numerous productions and instructions of the directorfor better maintenance and for representing one allegedly “stimmigeren” picture begun. Thus Flaherty insisted on the fact that no rifle in the film occurs, although the Inuit had gotten accustomed for a long time at its use. In another place a half Iglu was established, so that thoseCamera the life within the Iglus to film could. The actors, although actors “did not play”, the action for the camera. The building of the Iglus without roof for interior photographs was intended to adapt to the state of the art at that time.

Productions, those became later the spectatorare concealed, when unethisch and the nature of the documentary film contradicting judges.

Kulturfilm In Germany the Kulturfilm forms one of the oldest documentary film category. Already in the time of the Weimar Republic the Ufa , which possessed its own culture film studio in Berlin Steglitz, with the production of training was concernedand instructional films, D. h. popular-scientific animal, nature, medicine and travel films, which were demonstrated in the support program of the cinemas. Under the direction of Wolfmar young Hans and its successor Ulrich K. T. Schulz developed this Spezialstudio in the following years to world-wide best its kind.

Topic cityThe European realistic tradition concentrated on urban environments in films such as Berlin - Symphonie of a large city of walter Ruttmann, Rien Que Les Heurs of Alberto Cavalcanti (1926) and the man with the camera of Dsiga Wertow.

1930er and 1940erYears

Wochenschau and propagandathe Wochenschau - tradition is an important tradition of the documentary film. Also the events filmed for the Wochenschau were often placed behind, but invented rarely freely. For example many combat scenes were placed behind, since the cameraman appeared usually only after the battle. Dsiga Wertow workedafter the October Revolution to the cinema Pravda also.Franc Capra 's Why incoming goods Fight series was a week looking series, which was given by the government of the USA in order to be convinced in order to lead the domestic public of the necessity war.

National socialism Some the most notorious propaganda films -z. B.Leni of scoring steel film triumph of the will and Fritz Hipplers the eternal Jew - developed under the national socialism. Since not fiktionale films were however also commercially a success, documentary film production was continued to remove also altogether after 1933. The Ufa operated Babelsberg center that in Berlin1930er years under the direction of Nicolas buyer two culture film studios with special equipments for underwater photographs and for at that time completely new micro photography. Production not more fiktionaler, v. A. educational films exceeded feature production in terms of figures by far. Apart from the films of Leni scoring steel and walter Ruttmann are most of these Kulturfilme film-historically today however hardly still interesting.

GriersonInto the 1930ern the documentary film producer and film theoretician John Grierson in its essay roofridge Principles OF Documentary Robert Flaherty's film Moana argued have „documentary value “and established a set of principles for the documentary film. Griersonaccording to the potential of the cinema could to observe lead to a new art form the life; the “original” actor and the “genuine” scene are better been suitable the modern world to interpret as the fiction and that roughly won material are material than the playing. To that extent is correctGrieserson partly with Wertovs Verachtung for the “civil” feature. In its essays Dsiga Wertow had pleaded for which is life to show „like it “, i.e. the unobserved or surprised life.

since the Second World War

Direct Cinema and Cinéma Vérité The films Harlan County, U.S.A. (Barbara couples), Don't Look bake (D. A. Pennebaker), Lonely Boy (wolf king and novel Kroitor) and Chronique d'un été (1960) (Jean Rouch) become the Cinéma Vérité and/or. Direct Cinema counted. Although the expressions sometimessynonymously to be used, there are important differences between Cinéma Vérité and the American Direct Cinema, to its pioneers smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Leacock, Frederick Wiseman to count and the Maysle of brothers. The directors take different attitudes, which concerns the degree of the intervention. Couple and Pennebaker for exampleprefer a minimum of interference - which would be ideal case the pure observation - intervene during Rouch, king and Kroitor consciously and reactions provoke.

In Germany Klaus wild cock was particularly affected by the Direct Cinema.

Documentary film and feature the Cinéma Vérité are with the Italian Neorealismus thoseInclination commonly to film laymen at original scenes and made the French Nouvelle Vague frequently from in the film script dialogues and in the hand cameras held and synchronisertem clay/tone use.

Documentary film and politics in and the 70's 60's the documentary film often became as politicalWeapon in the fight against the Neokolonialismus and/or. capitalism generally understood, particularly in Latin America. La Hora de loosely hornos (1968) [the hour of the fires] of Octavio Getino and Fernando E. Solanas affected a whole generation of film producers.

special ones of category

compilation film< /br>Compilation films are not anything new in the history of the cinema. The Pionierin was Esfir thrust with the case the dynasty Romanov (1927). Newer examples are POINT OF order (1964) of Emile de Antonio over the McCarthy - hearings and The Atomic cafe, completely outMaterial was provided, which let the US Government provide, around the population over atomic radiation “to clear up”. The soldiers e.g. became. explained, nothing can happen to them, even if they were radioactively contaminated, as long as they kept the eyes and the mouth closed.

The load Cigarette (1999) combines testimonies ofManagers of the American tobacco industry with archives material, which anpreist the advantages of smoking.

Essay film< /br> A border form of the nichtfiktionalen film is the essay film. The off voice banished in the Direct Cinema turns zurückt, loses however its offiziösen, authoritarian, pseudoobjective character. Among the important Essayfilmachern Guy Debord rank, Raoul Peck and Harun Farocki.

important documentary film producers


sees also: List of the directors of the German film

other European countries


  • Safi Faye
  • Sorious Samura, (Cry Freetown, Return ton of Freetown, exodus, Living with hunger, Living with Refugees)


  • Anand Patwardhan.
  • Artavazd Ashoti Peleshyan


Latin America

  • Toma Gutierrez Alea
  • Santiago Alvarez
  • João Batista de Andrade
  • Fernando Birri
  • Sergio Bravo
  • Patricio Guzman
  • Leon Hirszman
  • Miguel Littin
  • Paul Leduc
  • Marta Rodríguez
  • Fernando E. Solanas
  • Gerardo Vallejo

North America

  • Emile de Antonio
  • Denys Arcand
  • Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (Brother's Keeper, Paradise draws: The Child Murders RK Robin Hood Hills, Metallica: Some child OF monster)
  • nod Broomfield (Aileen Wuornos: The Selling OF A Serial killer Biggie & Tupac, Short & Courtney, Heidi diligence: Hollywood Madam)
  • Ken Burns (baseball, jazz, The civil was)
  • Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • Peter Davis
  • Robert J. Flaherty
  • Mark of Jonathan Harris, (The Long Way Home, Into theArm OF Strangers: Stories OF the child transport)
  • Steve James (Hoop Dreams)
  • Barbara couples (game one Blues, Harlan County, the USA)
  • smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Leacock
  • Pare Lorentz
  • Kevin Macdonald, (one day in September, Touching the Void)
  • Ron man (Comic Book Confidential, Twist, Grass)
  • Albert Maysles and David Maysles (Salesman, Grey Gardens)
  • Ross McElwee, (Time Indefinite, Sherman's March)
  • Michael of moorlands (the large Macher - to The bend One, Roger and ME, Bowlingfor Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11)
  • Errol Morris (The Thin Blue LINE, Vernon, Florida, nearly, Cheap and Out OF control, The Fog OF was)
  • Alanis Obomsawin
  • D. A. Pennebaker (Don't Look bake, Monterey Pop)
  • Frederick Wiseman (High School, Titicut Follies)
  • Leon guest

commercial success

Michael of moorland political documentary film Fahrenheit 9/11 wrote in June 2004 film history, since it still never occurred before that a documentary film at the point of the US-Kinocharts stood. Already the previous film of moorland, Bowlingfor Columbine (2002), had been a US bringing in record, not on only one weekend 21.8 million dollar had however not brought in. World-wide the film has Fahrenheit 9/11 up to the 11. December 2004 whole 220.194.771 dollar brought in. Thus it is with distance the financially most successful documentary film of allTimes. The financially second-follow-richest documentary film is Michael of moorland Bowling for Columbine with incomes of 58.008.423 dollar.


  • Eric Barnouw, Documentary. A History OF the Non Fiction film, Oxford University press 1993 - a still read-worth introduction
  • Mo Beyerle, Christine N. Brinckmann(Hrg.):The American documentary film of the 60's. Direct Cinema and Radical Cinema. Campus, Frankfurt/Main, New York 1991, 527p. - That volume contains interviews with smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Leacock, OD Pincus, Emile de Antonio and David Loeb white except the analyses that scientist inside also as well asdetailed bibliographies
  • Hohenberger, EH, (Hg.), texts for the theory of the documentary film, Berlin: Vorwerk 8, 1998
  • Gilles Marsolais, „documentary tendencies in the quebekischen cinema or the inheritance cinéma direct “in: Michel Larouche, Jürgen E. Mueller, Quebec and the cinema. The development of an adventure, Münster: Nodus2002, S. 55-84
  • Michael Rabiger: Documentary films turn. Two thousand-unity, Frankfurt A.M. 2000
  • the surprised reality: Texts to the Soviet documentary film and of the early 30's 20's ; [International Leipziger festival for dokumentar and animated film]/[Hrsg.: Leipziger Dok Filmwochen GmbH]. Leipzig: Leipziger Dok Filmwochen GmbH, 2003.
  • Schadt, Thomas: The feeling of the instant - for the dramaturgy of the documentary film. Bergisch Gladbach, 2002. ISBN 3-404-94014-8
  • history of the documentary film in Germany, Hrsg. by Peter Zimmermann on behalf the house of the documentary film Stuttgart, 3 Bde. Bound in the Schuber
    • volume 1: Empire (1895-1918), Hrsg. ofUli young and. Martin Loiperdinger
    • volume 2: Weimar Republic (1918-1933), Hrsg. by Klaus Kreimeier, Antje Ehmann and. Jeanpaul Goergen
    • volume 3: “Third realm” (1933-1945), Hrsg. by Peter Zimmermann and. Kay Hoffmann

Reclam 2005, ISBN 3-15-030031-2

  • Steinle, Matthias, „from the enemy picture to the foreign picture. The mutual representation ofFRG and GDR in the documentary film “row: CLOSE UP 18: Konstanz: To UVK, 2003, ISBN 3-89669-421-9

see also

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