This week’s reading by Pawel Pawlikowski focuses mainly on form as a filmic convention within documentary filmmaking. Pawlilkowski looks closely at the way documentary filmmakers focus on the specifics, where the deeper elements that bring film stories to life. The first point that I took from the reading was one of the fundamental aspects of this article, where Pawlikowski suggests that in a world where video cameras are omnipresent and where everything is being filmed all the time, it is essential that the film-makers concentrate on the film-making as opposed to recording. ‘Form’ is what can salvage the documentary amid the increasingly meaningless glut of images.
Another point was that the most succesful documentaries nowadays seem to be those made by people with a lot of time on their hands, people who can stalk their subjects for five or ten years or however long it takes them to distil a “human story” which then works as a kind of cheap feature film. As this approach takes time and involves big risks, it doesn’t really suit TV. Some films do however make it to the cinema screens and feature film producers are getting in on the act, so maybe these feature documentaries do have a future.