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Archive for the ‘Docus’ Category

Documentary, representation of reality?

In Docus, Film on Agustus 26, 2009 at 5:44 am

Do you like documentary films? Or you don’t because you think that this type of films are boring and not interesting?

Or, do you think such films represent the truth, nothing but the truth? If you do, then you have to read this post…

Representing Reality???

Many people think that documentary is a representation of reality, simply because they assume that this type of film is recording factual events or regarding factual subjects. Moreover, they often think that documentary is identical with objectivity, thus it should be objective. Well, they are wrong.

Documentary is not a representation of reality, but it is the film maker’s representation of our historical world. What is conveyed in the film is the film maker’s point of views or arguments, and what makes it a documentary is because the representation is concerning on social matters or issues. I learned this from a book titled ‘Introduction to Documentary’ by Bill Nichols, the father of documentary.

The Example: Bowling for Columbine

Let’s take Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore as the example. The film is about gun violence in U.S and U.S gun ownership policy. Moore uses the shooting incident at Columbine High School as a case to begin his arguments. He tries to convey that gun violence in America have been becoming more serious for these past few years. The number of cases on gun violence is increasing, A lot of innocent people was killed, and there is no sign of this going to be stop. The next question is, who is the bad guy? What factors have made these problems emerged in America?

These are questions that Moore tries to answer in the film. He has his own answers and he attempts to make his viewers believe on him. Briefly saying, he wants the viewers to think that he is right.

In the film, it is obvious that Moore doesn’t attempt to be neutral. He aggressively posts his arguments by giving subjective evidences. Moreover, he is not only interviewing his correspondents but he is also intriguing them with unexpected and disturbing questions.

According to theory, this film is a documentary because of two reasons:

1. It represents the film maker’s point of views.

Even though the authenticity of some evidences are doubtful but Bowling for Columbine represents Michael Moore’s point of views. He believes that America’s unrestricted gun ownership policy and culture have made the big problems emerged.

2. Social matters or issues about our historical world

Michael Moore’s arguments are concerning on social matters or issues. The issues are gun violence and gun ownership policy in U.S. Thus Bowling for columbine is a documentary.

The issue of objectivity

Documentary is definitely not objective. How it could be objective if in its very nature, documentary is not a representation of reality? what is being conveyed in the documentary is the film maker’s particular perspectives about our historical world. When he defends his arguments or point of views in the film, it is impossible for him to be on both sides. It is just like a lawyer defending his client. He has to support one side and disregard the other side. It is a matter of choice; on which side do you want you to be?

Are you still thinking that documentary is boring and not interesting?

There is a lot that you can gain from a documentary despite a bunch of knowledge. It is fun to analyze how the filmmaker drags you on his side; how he persuades you with his arguments only to accept his point of views. Please remember that when you see a documentary, it means that you see the historical world from the eyes of the filmmaker.

Documentary is about both communication and persuasion. There are many things you can learn by watching documentaries;

  1. You can learn how to communicate ideas by using commentaries and images.
  2. Not only learn how to communicate, but you also can learn how to persuade people, because documentary is an art of persuasion. Therefore, you can learn how to persuade people in order for them to accept your ideas. It is always exciting when you can make people believe on what you think….it seems like you have power over them.
  3. Different filmmakers have different approaches. Perhaps you can imitate their techniques and make a documentary of your own

So, how about know? Still perceive documentary the same way as what you’ve been always thinking?

Here’s a suggestion: next time when you see a documentary, try to practice what you’ve learned from this post. Try to understand what goes beyond the film. because it is the ‘key’ to understand documentary. Happy watching…

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Kapan Ya?

In Docus, Film, Uncategorized on Agustus 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Ingin sekali melihat sebuah stasiun TV di Indonesia yang khusus menayangkan film-film dokumenter dalam maupun luar negeri. Bukan hanya karena saya fans film dokumenter, namun karena banyak sekali pengetahuan yang terkandung didalamnya, sehingga rakyat Indonesia bisa menambah wawasan dan memiliki tontonan alternatif selain dari apa yang ditawarkan para stasiun TV nasional sekarang ini.

Mungkin belum ada investor dalam negeri yang tertarik untuk membuat stasiun TV seperti National Geographic, lagi-lagi karena alasan minimnya nilai komersial dari film dokumenter. Oleh karena itu dianggap akan sepi penonton karena masyarakat Indonesia masih belum terlalu mengerti akan manfaat dan esensi dari film dokumenter.

Bagaimana masyarakat kita akan mengerti kalau mereka tidak pernah diberikan kesempatan untuk mengenal film dokumenter? Selama ini mereka lebih banyak dijejali oleh berbagai tayangan sinetron maupun reality show yang lebih condong pada sisi hiburan ketimbang edukatif. Coba kalau tayangan TV lebih variatif, Mungkin dapat membuat masyarakat Indonesia, terutama yang berada di daerah menjadi lebih kritis dan kreatif. Mereka akan memiliki sudut pandang yang lebih luas karena dihadapkan oleh tontonan yang berbagai jenis.

Begitu halnya dengan film dokumenter, bagaimana mereka akan belajar untuk mencintai apabila mereka tidak pernah diperkenalkan. Tepat seperti pepatah tak kenal maka tak sayang. Padahal di negeri ini banyak topik menarik yang dapat diangkat dalam format dokumenter, baik dari segi politik, sosial dan budaya, seni, maupun flora dan fauna. Terbukti dari banyaknya pembuat film dokumenter asing yang kerap menjadikan Indonesia sebagai tujuan mereka mencari materi.

Sebetulnya banyak film dokumenter yang dihasilkan para sineas dalam negeri, namun sebagian besar belum dipublikasikan secara luas, malah lebih fokus pada penayangan di festival film luar negeri. Sangat disayangkan, hanya sedikit masyarakat negeri ini yang memiliki akses untuk menikmati film-film dokumenter tersebut.

Sungguh sayang melihat film dokumenter tentang negeri sendiri, dibuat oleh orang asing, dan hanya dapat dinikmati oleh segelintir orang di negeri ini. Mudah-mudahan dalam waktu sepuluh tahun mendatang ada investor yang mau mempromosikan film dokumenter kepada masyarakat Indonesia. Semoga … 😀

SICKO

In Docus, Film on Januari 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

sicko1SICKO termasuk dalam film keluaran terbaru Michael Moore, sutradara film dokumenter yang terkenal dengan gaya-nya yang sarkastik dan sinis dalam mengolah argumen.

Inti argumentasi dari dokumenter SICKO adalah betapa kapitalisnya perusahaan-perusahaan asuransi di Amerika. Memang tidak dipungkiri perusahaan asuransi tetaplah sebuah institusi yang berupaya untuk menghasilkan profit, namun di SICKO, Moore berargumen tentang cara mereka yang sudah kelewat batas dan cenderung menipu mentah-mentah konsumen.

Moore mewawancarai beberapa warga Amerika yang merasa ditipu oleh perusahaan asuransi, bahkan ia berhasil mengajak para warga tersebut untuk ikut serta dalam unjuk rasa yang dipandu olehnya. Hal ini-lah yang turut menyumbangkan intrik dan drama dalam dokumenter ini.

Secara keseluruhan, dokumenter ini menarik untuk ditonton karena menyajikan fakta-fakta tentang dunia asuransi yang mungkin belum banyak diketahui masyarakat awam. Memang selama ini kita tahu kalau perusahaan asuransi mempunyai imej jelek, namun dokumenter ini tetap mampu menggambarkan sekaligus menjelaskan isu tersebut dengan menarik.

Menurut gue pribadi, SICKO adalah karya Moore yang paling matang dibandingkan dengan dokumenter-nya terdahulu seperti bowling for columbine dan Fahrenheit 9/11. Kalau dulu Moore sering dikritik karena suka memanipulasi fakta dalam karyanya, kali ini strategi manipulasinya gue anggap lebih halus hingga mampu membuat orang sedikit demi sedkit menjadi percaya.

Well… terlepas dari benar atau tidaknya argumen dan fakta yang Moore berikan, pada intinya ada satu hal yang perlu kita ingat bila menonton dokumenter: bahwa dokumenter bukan merepresentasikan kenyataan, melainkan sudut pandang si pembuatnya. Penilaian akhir tetap mejadi hak penonton.