Capturing Reality

The Art of Documentary
Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary. 2 discs. color. 328+ min. Pepita Ferrari, Natl. Film Bd. of Canada, 2009. DVD UPC 698193222561. $295. Public performance; home use $39.98. FILM
Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Albert Maysles, and 35 other documentarians from around the world share their views on crafting nonfiction films in this satisfying addition to cinematic scholarship. Topics include choosing a career in documentary filmmaking, finding suitable and compelling topics and willing subjects, addressing ethical issues, overcoming technical challenges, using or avoiding music, and much more. The filmmakers explore the artistic dimensions of documentaries, but they also touch on the science of the genre, giving viewers a well-rounded impression of what it takes to translate true stories into convincing cinema. But this film features much more than mere interviews. Director Ferrari effectively employs brief but illuminating clips from the filmmakers' work to connect theory with practice, while demonstrating the range and quality of these contemporary chronicles. A generous second disc features additional interview footage as well as biographies and filmographies. Insightful and informative, this set is highly recommended for film school students, cinephiles, and budding documentarians.—Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia

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