Documentary hubris

Recently I’ve watched a few documentaries which did not impress me. Why do movies about fascinating events, people, problems often end up lame? Where does the lack of storytelling talent come from?

One of the working hypothesis is that it is generated by the inflated ego of the makers, who by not being able or not wanting to step aside, do not allow their subjects to fully shine. It’s plain hubris and the lack of humbleness on the part of those whose duties is to report, show, facilitate meetings between the audiences and their subjects.

Directors have “ideas”, present their own “insights”, are too impatient to think things through - and disasters strike.

Perhaps talent as the ability to step aside, to let things that are talked about in the particular piece of work come with full independence, bloom and their own reasons. On the other hand filmmakers can be paralyzed by the importance, statue, scope of their subjects and don’t seek interesting ways into the subject matters.

Clearly some balance must be achieved between the assertiveness of a storyteller who’s reporting what is and his skills to listen and watch. Without the assertiveness of a teller a film falls apart. So what is the role of the self in storytelling? What does it really mean: “a story cannot be told objectively, somebody has to tell it as there is no no objective reporting?”

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