Docufiction (or docu-fiction), often confused with docudrama, is the cinematographic combination of documentary and fiction, this term often meaning narrative film. It is a film genre which attempts to capture reality such as it is (as direct cinema or cinéma vérité) and which simultaneously introduces unreal elements or fictional situations in narrative in order to strengthen the representation of reality using some kind of artistic expression.
More precisely, it is a documentary mixed with fictional elements, in real time, filmed when the events take place, and in which the main character or characters — often portrayed by non-professional or amateur actors — are essentially playing themselves, or slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, in a fictionalized scenario. In this sense, docufiction may overlap to an extent with some aspects of the mockumentary format, but the terms are not synonymous.
A film genre in expansion, it is adopted by a number of experimental filmmakers.
The neologism docufiction appeared at the beginning of the 21st century. It is now commonly used in several languages and widely accepted for classification by international film festivals.
Being both fiction and documentary, docufiction is a hybrid genre, raising ethical problems concerning truth, since reality may be manipulated and confused with fiction (see Ethics at creative non-fiction).
In the domain of visual anthropology, the innovating role of Jean Rouch allows one to consider him as the father of a subgenre called ethnofiction. This term means: ethnographic documentary film with natives who play fictional roles. Making them play a role about themselves will help portray reality, which will be reinforced with imagery. A non-ethnographic documentary with fictional elements uses the same method and, for the same reasons, may be called docufiction.
In contrast, docudrama is usually a fictional and dramatized recreation of factual events in form of a documentary, at a time subsequent to the "real" events it portrays. A docudrama is often confused with docufiction when drama is considered interchangeable with fiction (both words meaning the same). However, "docudrama" refers specifically to telefilms or other television media recreations that dramatize certain events often with actors.
A mockumentary is also a film or television show in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format, sometimes a recreation of factual events after they took place or a comment on current events, typically satirical, comedic or even dramatic. Whereas mockumentaries are usually fully scripted comedies or dramas that merely adopt some aspects of documentary format as a framing device, docufictions are usually not scripted, instead placing the participants in a fictionalized scenario while portraying their own genuine reactions and their own improvisational dialogue and character development.
ARTICLES and ESSAYS
After the Axe is a 1982 Canadian drama film about executive firings, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film explores the experiences of managers getting fired and the emergence of a new industry specialized in handling such terminations. Despite its Oscar nomination in the documentary category, After the Axe is closer to a docufiction film, made with the cooperation of members of the Canadian business community, which provided locations and helped script scenes during filming. The film's protagonist, D.R. "Biff" Wilson, is a composite character based on the filmmakers' conversations with fired executives, while the other Canadian executives play themselves.Ala-Arriba! (film)
Ala-Arriba! is a 1942 Portuguese romantic docufiction set in Póvoa de Varzim, a traditional Portuguese fishing town.
Dealing with ethnographic matters, it may be considered as an ethnofiction. The film was directed by Leitão de Barros, and stars real fishermen as themselves in order to give a realistic view over traditions and social behaviours of the community. Focusing the cultural context, it continuously shifts from documentary to drama, by means of a fictional narrative. Contemporary to Robert Flaherty, Barros is with him one of the first filmmakers to explore docufiction and ethnofiction as forms of dramatic narrative.
It premiered at São Luis Theatre in Lisbon.Biquefarre
Biquefarre is a 1983 French docufiction film, written and directed by Georges Rouquier, about the uncertain future facing a small farm in Aveyron. The film revisits characters first documented by Rouquier in his 1947 film Farrebique.
The film entered the competition at the 40th Venice International Film Festival, where it received the Special Jury Prize.Close-Up (1990 film)
Close-Up (Persian: کلوزآپ ، نمای نزدیک, Klūzāp, nemā-ye nazdīk) is a 1990 Iranian docufiction written, directed and edited by Abbas Kiarostami. The film tells the story of the real-life trial of a man who impersonated film-maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, conning a family into believing they would star in his new film. It features the people involved, acting as themselves. A film about human identity, it helped to increase recognition of Kiarostami in the West.
Many critics consider Close-Up a masterpiece of world cinema; in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, it was voted by critics onto "The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time" list.Docudrama
A docudrama (or documentary drama) is a genre of radio and television programming, feature film, and staged theatre, which features dramatized re-enactments of actual events. On stage, it is sometimes known as documentary theatre.
In the core elements of its story a docudrama strives to adhere to known historical facts, while allowing a greater or lesser degree of dramatic license in peripheral details, and where there are gaps in the historical record. Dialogue may include the actual words of real-life persons, as recorded in historical documents. Docudrama producers sometimes choose to film their reconstructed events in the actual locations in which the historical events occurred.
A docudrama, in which historical fidelity is the keynote, is generally distinguished from a film merely "based on true events", a term which implies a greater degree of dramatic license; and from the concept of "historical drama", a broader category which may also encompass largely fictionalized action taking place in historical settings or against the backdrop of historical events.
As a portmanteau, docudrama is sometimes confused with docufiction. However, unlike docufiction—which is essentially a documentary filmed in real time, incorporating some fictional elements—docudrama is filmed at a time subsequent to the events portrayed.Drifts (film)
Drifts (Derivas) is a Portuguese feature-length film by Ricardo Costa (autobiography, comedy, docufiction, metafiction, experimental film). The film is set in Lisbon, city which it portrays. It is the second independent film from an autobiographical sequel trilogy on Time and human wanderings.Mists, the first film of the trilogy, opened at the Venice Film Festival in 2003 and released in New York at the Quad Cinema in 2011. The third and last film of the sequel is Cliffs (Arribas), in which the protagonist goes back to his homeland via time travel. There he will face disquieting situations and puzzling characters.Ethnofiction
Ethnofiction is a neologism which refers to an ethnographic docufiction, a blend of documentary and fictional film in the area of visual anthropology. It is a film type in which, by means of fictional narrative or creative imagination, often improvising, the portrayed characters (natives) play their own roles as members of an ethnic or social group.
Jean Rouch is considered to be the father of ethnofiction. An ethnologist, he discovered that a filmmaker interferes with the event he registers. His camera is never a candid camera. The behavior of the portrayed individuals, the natives, will be affected by its presence. Contrary to the principles of Marcel Griaule, his mentor, for Rouch a non-participating camera registering “pure” events in ethnographic research (like filming a ritual without interfering with it) is a pre-concept denied by practice.An ethnographer cameraperson, in this view, will be accepted as a natural partner by the actors who play their roles. The cameraperson will be one of them, and may even be possessed by the rhythm of dancers during a ritual celebration and induced in a state of cine-trance. Going further than his predecessors, Jean Rouch introduces the actor as a tool in research. A new genre was born. Robert Flaherty, a main reference for Rouch, may be seen as the grandfather of this genre, although he was a pure documentary maker and not an ethnographer.
Being mainly used to refer to ethnographic films as an object of visual anthropology, the term ethnofiction is as well adequate to refer to experimental documentaries preceding and following Rouch's oeuvre and to any fictional creation in human communication, arts or literature, having an ethnographical or social background.I clowns
I clowns (also known as The Clowns) is a 1970 film by Federico Fellini about the human fascination with clowns and circuses.Interior. Leather Bar.
Interior. Leather Bar. is a 2013 American docufiction film, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by James Franco and Travis Mathews, the film stars Franco and Mathews as themselves working on a film project which reimagines and attempts to recreate the 40 minutes of deleted and lost sexually explicit footage from the controversial 1980 film Cruising. The film's cast also includes Val Lauren, Christian Patrick, Brenden Gregory, Brad Roberge, Colin Chavez, Michael Lannan and A.J. Goodrich.Les Ordres
Orders (original title: Les Ordres, known in the United States as: Orderers) is a 1974 Quebec historical drama film about the incarceration of innocent civilians during the 1970 October Crisis and the War Measures Act enacted by the Canadian government of Pierre Trudeau. It is the second film by director Michel Brault. It features entertainer and Senator Jean Lapointe.List of docufiction films
This is a list of docufiction feature-length films ordered chronologically.
Please search for references inside each article:
1926: Moana by Robert Flaherty, USA
1930: Maria do Mar by Leitão de Barros, Portugal
1931: Tabu by Robert Flaherty and F. W. Murnau, USA
1932: L'or des mers by Jean Epstein, France
1934: Man of Aran by Robert Flaherty, UK
1945: Ala-Arriba! by Leitão de Barros, Portugal
1948: La Terra Trema by Luchino Visconti, Italy
1948: Louisiana Story by Robert Flaherty, USA
1952: Children of Hiroshima by Kaneto Shindo, Japan
1956: On the Bowery by Lionel Rogosin, USA
1958: Moi, un noir (Me, A Black Man) by Jean Rouch, France
1958/59 Indie Matra Bhumi (The Motherland) by Roberto Rossellini, Italy
1959: Come Back, Africa by Lionel Rogosin, USA
1961: La pyramide humaine (The Human Pyramid) by Jean Rouch, France
1962: Rite of Spring by Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal
1963: Pour la suite du monde (Of Whales, the Moon and Men) by Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault, Canada
1964: Belarmino by Fernando Lopes, Portugal
1967: David Holzman's Diary by Jim McBride, USA
1971: Petit à petit (Little by Little) by Jean Rouch, France
1973: Trevico-Torino (viaggio nel Fiat-Nam) by Ettore Scola, Italy
1974: Orderers, by Michel Brault, Canada
1974: Cocorico Monsieur Poulet by Jean Rouch, France
1976: Changing Tides, by Ricardo Costa, Portugal
1976: People from Praia da Vieira by António Campos, Portugal
1976: Trás-os-Montes by Antonio Reis and Margarida Cordeiro, Portugal
1979: Bread and Wine by Ricardo Costa, Portugal
1981: Transes (fr) by Ahmed El Maânouni, Morocco
1982: Ana by António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro, Portugal
1982: After the Axe by Sturla Gunnarsson, Canada
1984: The Masculine Mystique by Giles Walker and John N. Smith (Canada)
1985: 90 Days by Giles Walker (Canada)
1986: Sitting in Limbo by John N. Smith (Canada)
1987: The Last Straw by Giles Walker (Canada)
1987: Train of Dreams by John N. Smith (Canada)
1988: Mortu Nega (Death denied) by Flora Gomes, Guiné-Bissau
1989: Welcome to Canada by John N. Smith (Canada)
1990: The Company of Strangers, by Cynthia Scott, Canada
1990: Close-Up by Abbas Kiarostami, Iran
1991: Zombie and the Ghost Train by Mika Kaurismäki, Finland
1991: Life and Nothing More by Abbas Kiarostami, Iran
2000: In Vanda's Room by Pedro Costa, Portugal
2001: Waking Life by Richard Linklater, United States
2002: City of God by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, Brasil
2002: Ten by Abbas Kiarostami, Iran
2003: Mists by Ricardo Costa, Portugal
2005: Underexposure by Oday Rasheed, Iraq
2006: Colossal Youth by Pedro Costa, Portugal
2008: Our Beloved Month of August by Miguel Gomes, Portugal
2009: The Mouth of the Wolf by Pietro Marcello, Italy
2013: Closed Curtain by Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi, Iran
2013: Interior. Leather Bar. by James Franco and Travis Mathews (USA)
2015: Taxi by Jafar Panahi, France
2016: Your Name Here by B. P. Paquette, Canada
2016: Drifts by Ricardo Costa, Portugal
2017 Cliffs by Ricardo Costa, PortugalLouisiana Story
Louisiana Story (1948) is a 78-minute black-and-white American film. Although the events and characters depicted are fictional and the film was commissioned by the Standard Oil Company to promote its drilling ventures in the Louisiana bayoux, it is often misidentified as a documentary film, when in fact, it is a docufiction. The script was written by Frances H. Flaherty and Robert J. Flaherty, directed by Robert J. Flaherty.Moana (1926 film)
Moana (pronounced [ˈmo.ana]) is a 1926 American documentary film, or more strictly a work of "docufiction" that was directed by Robert J. Flaherty, the creator of Nanook of the North (1922).Mockumentary
A mockumentary (a portmanteau of mock and documentary) or docucomedy is a type of movie or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary.These productions are often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictional setting, or to parody the documentary form itself. While mockumentaries are usually comedic, pseudo-documentaries are their dramatic equivalents. However, pseudo-documentary should not be confused with docudrama, a fictional genre in which dramatic techniques are combined with documentary elements to depict real events. Also, docudrama is different from docufiction; a genre in which documentaries are contaminated with fictional elements.
Mockumentaries are often presented as historical documentaries, with B roll and talking heads discussing past events, or as cinéma vérité pieces following people as they go through various events. Examples emerged during the 1950s when archival film footage became available. A very early example was a short piece on the "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" that appeared as an April Fools' prank on the British television program Panorama in 1957.
The term "mockumentary", which originated in the 1960s, was popularized in the mid-1980s when This Is Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner used it in interviews to describe that film.Mockumentaries are often partly or wholly improvised, as an unscripted style of acting helps to maintain the pretense of reality. Comedic mockumentaries rarely have laugh tracks, also to sustain the atmosphere, although exceptions exist.
Music "is often employed to expose the ambiguities and fallacies of conventional storytelling; for instance by pointing at the paradoxes of the distinction between diegetic and extradiegetic music".Pour la suite du monde
Pour la suite du monde (also known as For Those Who Will Follow; Of Whales, the Moon, and Men, or The Moontrap in English) is a 1963 Canadian documentary film directed by Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière and Pierre Perrault. It was entered into the 1963 Cannes Film Festival.Pourquoi l'étrange Monsieur Zolock s'intéressait-il tant à la bande dessinée?
Pourquoi l'étrange Monsieur Zolock s'intéressait-il tant à la bande dessinée? ("Why is the strange Mr. Zolock so interested in comics?") is a Canadian docufiction film, released in 1983. A documentary about comic books and graphic novels, the film features interviews with comics illustrators wrapped by a fictional frame story in which Monsieur Zolock (Jean-Louis Millette), an evil supervillain, hires private investigator Dieudonné (Michel Rivard) to investigate the cultural influence of comics as part of his plot to take over the world.The film won the Genie Award for Best Feature Length Documentary at the 5th Genie Awards in 1984.Theirs Is the Glory
Theirs is the Glory (also known as Men of Arnhem), is a 1946 British war film about the British 1st Airborne Division's involvement in the Battle of Arnhem (17 September to 25 September 1944) during Operation Market Garden in the Second World War. It was the first film to be made about this battle, and the biggest grossing UK war film for nearly a decade. The later film A Bridge Too Far depicts the operation as a whole and includes the British, Polish and American Airborne forces, while Theirs is the Glory focuses solely on the British forces, and their fight at Oosterbeek and Arnhem.
The film was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, who was himself a veteran of the First World War, having survived Gallipoli where he had served with the Royal Irish Rifles. The producer was Leonard Castleton Knight, Head of Gaumont British News. The script was written primarily by Louis Golding but honed by Hurst's protege Terence Young (then subsequently went on to direct They Were Not Divided and the early Bond films). Young had been in the Irish Guards with the Guards Armoured Division with XXX Corps seeking to relieve Arnhem during the battle and hence the authenticity of the eventual story-line. The veterans who starred in the film also actively collaborated on the script.
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