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Documentary film

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This 16 mm spring-wound Bolex "H16" Reflex camera is a popular entry level camera used in film schools.
This 16 mm spring-wound Bolex "H16" Reflex camera is a popular entry level camera used in film schools.

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record.[1] Such films were originally shot on film stock—the only medium available—but now include video and digital productions that can be either direct-to-video, made into a TV show, or released for screening in cinemas. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries.[2]

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1888 London was a far different place than we see today It was the largest capital city in the world, but also the most deprived its population had swelled to around 6.9 million and Victorian London was in full swing in The more affluent parts, it was being transformed with modern concert halls restaurants and hotels being constructed However in the East End of London, it was a different story Whitechapel in particular was considered one of the worst parts of London and for its 250,000 inhabitants life was tough the area was overcrowded and littered with crime the working living and Sanitation conditions for those who lived there were unbearable The poverty-stricken residents lived in the dimly lit maze of roads and alleyways That were often smeared with human and animal excrement and the smell drifting through the slums was putrid Many of the residents were foreign immigrants with little or no money who worked long hours for just a few shillings For the women living in these slums many had no choice but to resort to prostitution to earn enough to eat During this era around 1200 prostitutes were working in Whitechapel alone Most of them were alcoholics who frequented the dingy bars in the area in search of clients these ladies of the night were considered the pets of a society and If they were killed in the hands of a customer, it went virtually unreported This was a side of London that others prefer to forget about But that was all about to change Until a person would become the subject of one of the most mysterious and infamous killings in British history Jack the Ripper You On August the 31st 1888 a carter named charles cross was walking to work along bucks row in Whitechapel as He walked through the dimly lit alleyway. He noticed a bundle of dark cloth lying in a gateway Thinking it was a discarded tarpaulin. He went over to inspect it as Charles moved closer he realized it was a woman Unsure if she was dead or just drunk he called over a fellow carta name's Robert Hall The two men approached the woman who was lying flat on her back with his skirt lifted above her waist Charles felt her face which was still warm to the touch, but her hands were icy cold and limb Paul then put his hand on her chest and thought she was still breathing So they pulled her skirt back over her knees and left it there for fear of being late for work Due to the dark alley neither men had realized that the woman's throat had been cut so savagely that her head had almost been decapitated The next person to approach the body was beet officer PC John Neal. He examined the body with the aid of his lamp Just picture the atmosphere as he noticed blood flowing from a wound on her throat He later wrote in his statement that she was lying on her back with her clothes disarranged I felt her arm which was quite warmed from the joints upwards her eyes were wide open Her bonnet was off and lying at her side Neal alerted his fellow officer PC John Thain who alerted a doctor called Llewellyn? Who arrived at the scene and pronounced life extinct? After examining the body at the scene, he suggested that she had been dead less than 30 minutes Meaning the killer must be within a small radius of the body during its discovery News of the gruesome murder began to filter through the neighborhood and a small crowd gathered around the body Before it was eventually taken to the mortuary in nearby old Montague Street Her post-mortem revealed horrific injuries the likes that had never been seen before Her throat had been cut from left to right two distinct cuts being on the left side the windpipe gullet and spinal cord were cut through a bruise presumably of a thumb was on the right lower jaw and Also on her left cheek The abdomen had been cut open from the center of the bottom of the ribs Along the right side under the pelvis to the left of the stomach there the wound was jagged the Ament, 'm was also cut in several places and two small stabs were made at the genitals all Injuries were inflicted with a strong sharp knife by a left-handed individual Fortunately for this lady death would have almost been instantaneous 43 year-old Mary Ann Nichols as she would soon be identified as was a mother of five She was also known as Polly who had been living at a nearby lodging house in thrall Street But how did she end up becoming the first victim of Britain's most notorious killer? It was established that just three months earlier. She was a resident of Lambeth workhouse and it was fellow workhouse Resident Mary Ann monk who identified the body Nichols was a prostitute and alcoholic Just hours before her body was found. She was spotted drinking in the frying-pan pub But left around 12:30 a.m. And returned to her lodging house at number 18 thrall Street But she didn't have the four pence needed to stay there. So it turned away As she left she shouted I'll soon get my Doss money. So you what - Johnny bonnet I'm wearing as she walked off looking for clients. She was seen by a friend Emily Holland at around 2:30 a.m Outside a grocer's shop at the junction of Osborne street and Whitechapel Road Emily tried to persuade her to go back to a lodging house but she refused and staggered off into the night to make more money at Some stage within the next 75 minutes Mary Nichols would meet her killer who she likely went with to the dark gateway towards the top of box row There he strangled her rendering her unconscious before cutting her throat with a sharp blade a knife No one heard a thing and then her killer vanished into the dark and crisp London night As Nichols Lake Holt and mutilated on the mortuary slab She had a final visit from her estranged husband John Nichols who was visibly distressed at the state of his wife He reportedly whispered to her. I forgive you as you are for what you have been to me Nichols funeral was held on Thursday the 6th of September 1888 and the mourners included her father and two of her children She was buried in a city of London Cemetery, but this was only just the beginning Two days after the funeral of Marianne Nichols the unnamed killer struck again Coincidentally in the same street from where Mary had made a final journey on The 8th of September 1888 just before 6 a.m John Davis an elderly resident of 29 Hanbury Street Walks down the stairs and along a narrow passageway to open the back door He was confronted by the mutilated body of a woman He shouted to two men who were on their way to work and they followed him to where the body was lying Her bloodied face was turned towards the house and her clothes had been pulled up above her waist exposing her red and white striped stockings a handkerchief was tied around her throat and her hands were saturated in blood the Positioning of them indicated she had put up a fight The three men were horrified by what they saw and run off in different directions in search of a policeman By the time the police arrived he crowd had gathered around the body and police reinforcements were called in to disperse them The divisional police surgeon. Dr. George Baxter Phillips arrived and confirmed that the woman was beyond medical help in his initial report He noted that her face was swollen and turned to the right and her swollen tongue protruded between her front teeth The body was terribly mutilated and a throat had been cut the post-mortem revealed far more injuries throat cut from left to right two distinct clean cuts on the left side of her spine and that attempt had been made to separate the bones of the neck Various other mutilations of the body that were thought to have been caused after death. The protruding tongue was a strong indication of ex-fix iation The abdomen had been entirely laid open the intestines had been lifted out to the body and placed on the shoulder of the lady and The pelvic organs had been removed and were missing This killer had a worryingly skilled hand the victim was identified as Annie Chapman a 45 year old prostitute who had been living in lodgings at number 35 Dorset Street Annie was born in Paddington, but was brought up in Windsor in 1869 she married John Chapman and the couple had three children Both Annie and John were heavy drinkers and eventually the pair separated John had died on Christmas Day 1886 so her allowance from him stomped Annie Fallon's a prostitution to bring in income She also did Crocket work and made unsold artificial flowers In the days leading up to her death Annie had been involved in an argument with fellow lodger Eliza Cooper over a bar of soap and the argument had got physical Some of the bruising to her face are the postmortem was in fact attributed to this dispute Before her murder. Annie would have been in considerable pain and be known to her She was in the advanced stages of lung and brain disease of which there was no cure and she was dying However, she was to meet a much more brutal end Annie Chapman is the only Ripper victim who has a photograph of when she was alive At 1:00 a.m. On the 30th of September 1888 Louie team shirts turned into that field yard just off burner Street in his pony and cart His pony shied to the left and refused to go any further As Louis looked around to see what was there. He noticed a dark mound lying on the ground He moved nearer and prodded at it with his whip, but got no response So he lit a match to get a better look But the wind was strong and it only stayed lit long enough for him to see it was a woman lying on the ground At first he thought it was his wife and he rushed into the nearby club where he found his wife safe and Wow But he told other drinkers in the club about the woman, he wasn't sure was drunk or dead he returned to the woman this time with a candle I Realized she was indeed dead her throat to his current The police were alerted and by the time they arrived a small crowd had gathered around the body At around 1:16 a.m Dr. Blackwell arrived and the woman was pronounced dead police then carried out a brief investigation of the residents and buildings in the surrounding area and At 4:30 a.m. The body was moved to st. George's mortuary in cable streams PC Albert Collins then washed the blood away from the yard Dr. Blackwell noted that the woman was wearing a Czech silk scarf that was pulled tightly around her neck and at the inquest he stated that he had formed the opinion that the killer had first taken hold at the back of the scarf and Pulled the victim backwards onto the ground Although he couldn't say for certain whether the woman's throat was cut while she was standing or after she'd been pulled backwards Once the killer had cut her throat slicing through the windpipe She would have been unable to cry out and would have bled to death within about a minute and a half on This occasion. It seems the killer left in a hurry and Unlike the other victims the body was not mutilated The victim was later identified as Elizabeth stride a 45 year old prostitute who was born in sweet But had moved to London in 1866 and married John Thomas stride in 1869 the pair opened a coffee shop in Poplar But by 1877 stride found herself in the workhouse and in 1881 He merged the John broke down just before he passed away on the day of her murder Elizabeth spent the day cleaning rooms at her lodging house for which she was paid sixpence So she had it straight to the Queen's Head pub? She later returned to the lodging house and borrowed a clothes brush from a fellow lodger Charles Preston before heading back Island Elizabeth was spotted several times over the next few hours with a man and the file sighting shortly before she was found dead was made by Israel Swartz at 12:45 a.m. In front of that field yard on Berner Street He claimed he had witnessed her being thrown to the ground by an unknown man If this account is to be believed the man was almost certainly Jack the Ripper At around the same time Elizabeth strides body was discovered in debt fields yard not far away another prostitute Named Catherine Eddowes was being released from Bishopsgate police station She had been arrested the night before at around 8:30 p.m. For being drunk and disorderly But by 12:15 a.m. She was awake and asking to leave When asked on her release what her name and address once she gave the name Mary Ann Kelly of six fashion Street She then walked off into the darkness less than an hour later PC Watkins was walking the beat in the vicinity of might ask where He had been patrolling the area all night and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary But as he turned into the square at around 144 a.m. He was faced with a horrific sight Lying on the ground in front of him in a pool of blood was a woman She was led on her back with her clothes thrown up over her waist He immediately called for assistance Dr. George William Sequeira arrived at the scene and examined the body declaring life extinct He later told the inquest at the place where the murder had occurred was probably the darkest part of mitre square Although they had certainly been enough light for the murderer to execute the victim. He stated that the death would have been instantaneous Once the murderer had cut the windpipe and the blood vessels Although he was of the opinion that the murderer possessed. No, great. Anatomical scale The coroner asked him if the assailant would be covered in blood to which he replied not necessarily The post-mortem revealed the extent of the injuries her face had been horrific. He mutilated and a throat had been severed to the bone similar to Annie Chapman there were grotesque injuries to her stomach and the intestines had been placed outside the abdominal cavity a Left kidney was removed and was missing as well as part of her womb at the mortuary the victim was identified as Catherine Eddowes a 46 year old occasional prostitute who was born in Wolverhampton she always claimed she was married to Thomas Connelly a former soldier with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment and Had his initials tattooed on an arm Although no record of the marriage has ever been traced The couple had two sons and a daughter, but in 1881 They separated and aloes took custody of her daughter and Conway their son The whereabouts of their second son was unknown Edo's moved into a lodging house on the flower and Dean Street and started a relationship with John Kelly The couple was still together at the time of her death An interesting side note. Is that on the 28th of September 1888? She spent the night in the casual ward at the shoe Lane workhouse Where it was reported by several newspapers. She told the superintendent That she'd come back to earn the reward being offered for the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer as she believed. She knew who he was The superintendent warned her to take care that he didn't murder her. Oh no fear of that was her supposedly ply the day before her murder she met up with Carrie for breakfast after wench the two parted company and Catherine told Kelly that She was heading to Berman Z to borrow money from her daughter He never saw her alive again In the aftermath of the audacious double murder a clue was discovered for the first time It's thought after murdering Catherine Eddowes the killer headed east straight towards where the most police activity was It's been suggested this was because he was a local man, and he was heading to the safety of his home it Seems that he would have passed several police officers without either being noticed or arising suspicion After murdering Eddowes the river fled East escaping down the dark cobblestone alleys He had torn a piece of Catherine's apron while stood in a dark doorway in Goulston Street where he wiped his bloody blade and disappeared into the night a Couple of hours after the slaughter PC Alfred long was patrolling his beat along Goulston Street at 2:55 a.m When he spotted the apron on the floor When police found the apron not far from Katherine's body Written on the wall above it in chalk was the following The Jews are the men that will not be blamed for nothing Police feared this would cause a resurgence of the anti-semitism and violence against the Jews. So the chalk was wiped away we may never know if it was written by the hand of Jack the Ripper or if it was there before but the police's decision to wipe it away before taking photographs is one of the biggest police blunders of the day and Certainly added an extra layer of confusion for investigators for years to come with the writing gone the apron is the only real clue that Jack the Ripper ever left behind and With today's modern forensic techniques that probably would have been enough to catch him But this was 1888 and the police were no nearer to finding the killer than they were when he started The rivers final known victim was 25 year old Mary Kelly Unlucky at the for she was well liked and had not been ravaged by the effects of alcohol and prostitution She was born in Limerick Island and moved to Wales as a child Where she claimed she married a Collier who was killed in a Pitt explosion after his death Mary became a prostitute in Cardiff before moving to London to work in a high-class brothel in the West End and Eventually finding herself in the East End However, there are gaps in her life, but little is known about and most of what is known came from Joseph Barnet a man She'd been living with until a couple of weeks before her death Barnet was an unemployed Billingsgate fish Porter who lived with Mary in a rented room in Miller's Court the pair had a volatile relationship And their lack of money as well as Mary's return to prostitution Contributed to their breakup. They remained on good terms on the night before her death He had paid her a brief visit, but after he left at around 8 p.m Kelly went out and was seen returning home at 11:45 p.m by her neighbor Mary Anne Cox She was in the company of a stout scruffy faced man Who was in his 30s with a karate mustache and wearing a belly cock hat? Kelly was drunk and she told mrs. Cox that she was going to sing a usual occurrence when she was intoxicated Between midnight and 1:00 a.m. On the 9th of November 1888 Several neighbors heard the singing only of violet. I plucked from my mother's grave Kalli was seen again at about 2 a.m. By George Hutchinson on Commercial Street when she asked him for sixpence After he declined she walked off and started talking to a man George followed the pair back to Miller's Court where Kelly led the man into a room He later described the man as pale with a small moustache dark hair and bushy eyebrows He was wearing a hat a long dark coat and spats over boots and was carrying a small parcel He also noted that he had a Jewish appearance in The early hours of the morning neighbors reported hearing a faint cry of murder coming from the direction of Mary Kelly's room At 10:45 a.m. Thomas bauer was sent around 2:13 Miller's court to collect Mary Kelly's overdue rent After getting no reply. He looked through the window The first thing he saw was what looked like two lumps of meat sitting on the bedside table After reporting back to his employer the police were alerted Mary Kelly had been mutilated beyond recognition The body was slumped on her blood-soaked bed her whole abdominal cavity had been emptied out and The contents had been deliberately placed beneath her head and on the bedside table Her breasts were cut off and her face had been hacked away with her nose cheeks eyebrows and ears partially removed Her heart had also been cut out and was missing The cause of death was a severance of the carotid artery in the neck This was by far the most brutal of all the murders Mary Jane, Kelly was laid to rest in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Leytonstone Joseph barnett attended the funeral but as reported in the daily telegraph None of mary's family could be traced to come to a funeral Her grave is marked with a simple marker at st. Patrick's Roman Catholic cemetery in London In the early days of the police investigation it was thought that the murders were gang-related however, early on this was discounted and a single perpetrator was thought to be the likely killer and Someone who had knowledge of the area with that in mind inspector frederick george abberline was drafted in to head the investigation as It was believed that his knowledge of the area would be key to solving this case It was also hoped that a Berlin's familiarity with the local criminal fraternity Might persuade one of them to turn Informer as a prize But they were wrong and many mistakes were made in the initial investigation The press coverage of the murders was also a hindrance Unlike today when the press can help when trying to track down a suspect Journalist in Victorian London were unscrupulous I would often try and bribe officers to get information if that failed They would just mixed a farm with some journalists even resulting to dressing up as women and wandering the streets of Whitechapel In the hope of being attacked by Jack the Ripper to gain a sensational headline This type of reporting threw up many false leads leading Jack the Ripper to continue wandering the streets Something that may have helped would have been a credible artist's impression As its thought many witnesses may have seen Jack with his victims But the illustrations released were just generic evil looking men Based on what they thought he would look like rather than how eyewitnesses described During the investigation police also received many letters most of which were from pranksters However, there were three letters that stood out the most the D Abbas letter dated September the 25th 1888 though initially thought to be a hoax it gained attention after Catherine Eddowes murder on September the 30th as The letter mentioned clipping off his next victims ears Edo's was found with one ear lobe severed The saucy jack postcard was received on October the 1st 1888 Which mentioned the double event and had the same handwriting as the D Abbas letter the from how letter was probably the most disturbing of all as Their letter arrived in a small box that also contained half a human kidney Catherine Eddowes killer had removed one of her kidneys Despite these promising developments. They ultimately led to nowhere and the case was never solved The number of suspects had grown to over a hundred Some of which were genuine contenders while others were just absurd many authors former detectives and amateur sleuths Released new evidence every year even to this day claiming to finally have cracked the world's most famous murder mystery each sounding pretty convincing Some of the names in the mix include the freemasons Prince Albert Edward Victor and even dr Bernardo but the evidence against these is flimsy and it's unlikely that it's any of them Add to the many suspects there were six that have remained in the frame for many years Montague Jewett is considered by many to be the number-one suspect in the Jack the Ripper case and For that reason he's included in our list Despite there being very little evidence with which to implicate his guilt Drouet was an Oxford educated man and after graduating in 1881 began teaching at the boarding school in Blackheath, London he later went on to qualify as a barrister, but After the death of both his parents in a short space of time followed by his dismissal from Blackheath school reportedly for his homosexual tendencies Druid went missing on Monday, December the 31st 1888 his body was found floating in the River Thames It's thought that he had been in the river for at least three weeks and the loss of his job parents and his deteriorating mind Contributed to him taking his life So how did he become a ripper suspect? While apart from the fact he fitted the description of a smartly dressed man in his early 30s with a moustache The only thing that links him to the murders is the cryptic quote made by Sir Malvin Leslie McNaughton in his famous Memoranda, this is what he wrote about drew it I Have always held strong opinions regarding him and the more I think the matter over the stronger do these opinions become the truth However will never be known and did indeed at one time lie at the bottom of the Thames if my conjectures be correct Mr. MJ drew it a doctor of about 41 years of age and a fairly good family who disappeared at the time of the Millers Court murder and whose body was floating around in the Thames on the 31st of December Ie seven weeks after the said murder the body was said to have been in the water for a month or more On it was found a season ticket between Blackheath and London from private information I have little doubt that his own family suspected this man of being the Whitechapel murderer It was alleged that he was sexually insane All that can be concluded from this is that mag Norton knew more than he was willing to reveal After all, even though he wasn't on the police force during the Ripper killings he was actively involved in the investigation between 1889 and 1891 and Did have links to the Jewett family through a couple of his high-ranking friends He later claimed that he destroyed information he had on drew in it So as not to cause an uproar as you may have noticed from the quote There are also some inconsistencies in Watts McNaughton wrote most obviously is age and occupation Jewett was 31 not 41 and a barrister not a doctor At 1110 on the morning of Monday the 27th of April 1896 Karl Feigenbaum was executed by electric chair in New York. He was pronounced dead at exactly 1118 This was a fitting end to a man who had brutally knife to death a woman in front of her 16 year old son However, the name Karl Feigenbaum was to stay in the spotlight after his lawyer William Sandford Lawton made this statement almost immediately after the execution I Believe that Karl Feigenbaum who you have just seen put to death in the electric chair Can easily be connected with a Jack the Ripper murders in Whitechapel London? I will state my professional reputation But if the police trace this man's movements carefully for the last few years Their investigation will lead them to London and to Whitechapel Now this is entirely plausible The man was a self-confessed Psychopath who admitted to his lawyer that he had an uncontrollable urge to kill and mutilate every woman who falls in his way He was also a German merchant seaman who travelled extensively So could have been in London at the time of the murders He is also linked to many other unsolved murders around the same time Although was only ever convicted of the one in Travel Marriott's book Jack the Ripper the 21st century investigation The theory that Carl is the Ripper is covered in great detail and puts up a convincing argument But as with the complexity of this case, so do many of the other suspects in Recent years many Rapala gists have started believing that Mary Jane Kelly had a second husband and It was him that was behind all the Jack the Ripper killings in London his name was Francis Craig an unsuccessful journalist who married Elizabeth Weston Davis on a 24th of December 1884 However, just a few months into the marriage create discovered that his new wife was engaging in prostitution After she was caught entertaining a young man near their marital home in King cross. He reluctantly divorced her in 1886 after being caught out Elizabeth left Craig and went into hiding in the East End under the pseudonym Mary Jane Kelly But Craig was obsessed and stalked her until he discovered. She was living in Whitechapel Where he took lodgings at 3:06 Mile End Road? He had truly loved his wife, but after witnessing her lifestyle his love turned to disgust and hatred and he plotted to murder her To disguise his involvement. He opted to kill other prostitutes in the area as well before finally butchering his intended victim Now this version of Mary Jean carries life could be true as it--of all the Ripper victims The least is known about her and the only scant detail that was recorded Were provided by Joseph Barnett the man she was living with until a couple of weeks before her death and a man she had known less than a year a Few months after the murder of his ex-wife Craig left Whitechapel and returned to West London where he worked as editor of the indicator and West London news a job he held until 1896 But in 1903 while living in lodgings at Kathy Road Hammersmith Craig cut his throat with a razor Leaving his landlady a note which read I have suffered a deal of pain and agony For over a hundred years after his death. He was largely forgotten Until 2015 when dr. Wine Weston Davis released his book titled the real Mary Kelly Dr. Weston Davis claimed to be Mary Kelly's great nephew and Released the connection when new documents were discovered in 2011 which included a petition for divorce and it's supporting sworn affidavit in the book the missing parts of Kelly's life were filled in proving his theory he Even planned to have Mary Kelly's body exhumed. So DNA analysis can be performed To determine once and for all the true identity of the rippers final victim and prove Craig's motive for the murders This suspect like Francis Craig is one of the more recent people to be linked to the Ripper murders You might recognize his name from the Mary Ann Nichols murder as he was one of the men who found her body in Bucks row At the inquest into Nichols death he gave his name as Charles Cross, but this was a lie. His real name was Charles Lechmere Cross was the name of the policeman that his mother had married after his father dies Recent analysis by dr Gareth Norris of operates with the university has revealed that cross was in proximity to all the murder victims His route to work took him past Hanbury Street where Annie Chapman's body was discovered mitre square the site of Catherine Eddowes demise and Dorset Street, which runs past Miller's Court where Mary Jane Kelly's room was Furnished reads where Elizabeth strides body was found was near his mother's house who he visited regularly at the time of the murders He was a 39 year old driver for Pickford means and it's always been suggested that as he was a meat delivery, man It would not have been unusual for him to have blood-stained clothes providing the perfect excuse for any blood splatters It seems he was also a compulsive liar with quite a few discrepancies in the statements. He gave after the Nichols murder it Seemed these inconsistencies Put Lechmere in the frame in recent years as we've always been led to believe Charles cross find the body of Mary Nichols and alerted Robert Paul the other man on the scene However, what investigators are saying now is that Paul actually arrived on the scene as cross was carrying at the attack and cross Remained with the body rather than running claiming. He had just found her The two statements that the men gave could indicate this as the two men's accounts do differ slightly But is that enough to decisively say that Lechmere was the killer? Probably not. Although those that believe he is put up a convincing argument and theory If you've ever rant the victorian diary supposedly written by wealthy cotton merchants from Liverpool called James Maybrick You would be convinced that he was Jack the Ripper It's full of detailed confessions and descriptions that only the killer would know and at the end it's signed off with this. I Give my name that all know of me so history to tell what love can do to a gentleman born yours. Truly Jack the Ripper But there was just one problem after it was released Ripper X Burns who subjected it to careful analysis Began to question his authenticity a long list of people came forward to say it was a sophisticated Forgery and a money-making scheme dreamt up by Mike Barrett the man who claims he obtained the diary from a family friend however, 25 years after the release of the diaries another book has been released by Robert Smith who claims the diary is legitimate after all according to his new evidence The book was found in 1992 by three electricians working at battle Chris house in Liverpool James. May Brooks former home and Indeed documents show the electrician's were at matrix old house The same day Barret founder a London literary agent to say I've caught Jack the Ripper's diary It seems the three electricians and Barrett all knew each other. I'm also known to go to the pub together Barret was known to be a colorful character Who made claims about being an author and he thought he would be the perfect person to help them find the publisher and salad It also refutes claims that Barrett's produced the book himself as his literary Achievements were limited and he was certainly not literate enough to compose such a sophisticated and credible forgery So does that mean that the diary was actually written by James May break? We may never know One of the most well known suspects in the Jack the Ripper case is Queen Victoria's grandson Prince Albert, Victor also known as Eddie He had a reputation for being a ladies man and is claimed many of his scandalous Mis endeavors were covered up by the palace however, at the time he was still a popular member of the royal family and was second in line to the throne and had he Lived would have eventually been crowned the King of England to give you an idea of how high up he was in the royal family He has the equivalent status that Prince William does today So to link him to the Jack the Ripper murders is controversial and improbable But because he is the highest profile of all the Ripper suspects. We have to mention him if only to set the record straight During the time the Ripper murders. There was no evidence of Eddie ever being linked to the crimes It wasn't until years later in 1962 that he was first mentioned as a suspect in a book written by Philippa. Julienne this started a stream of theories that included bizarre claims that Eddie was suffering from syphilis and that the infection drove him insane and Compelled him to commit the frenzied attacks Others focused on him being homosexual and having a relationship with his Cambridge tutor James case Stephen Who then went on to commit the murders after their liaison with Eddie ended apparently out of a twisted desire for revenge But perhaps the most popular theory came from a man called Joseph Sicard He claimed that Eddie had secretly married a poor Catholic girl named Alice Mary crook Who soon fell pregnant and gave birth to a child called Alice? But when Queen Victoria discovered her grandson's indiscretion She demanded that the situation be dealt with so she instructed her prime minister Lord Salisbury to sort out He enlisted the help of royal physician Sir William gull Eddy and Alice were split and Gould performed experiments on Alice device were raised her memory and drive her insane Their child however, escaped with her nanny Mary Kelly who left here with nuns before moving to Whitechapel Where she started telling a story to prostitutes Nichols stride and Chapman and together they decided to blackmail the government in Order to silence the women Goel arranged for the women to be murdered Secret claimed that the murders of Catherine Adams was a case of mistaken identity as she often went by the name of Mary Kelly As for Alice while she grew up and married a painter called Walter Sickert and the pair had a child called Joseph Sickert Despite this theory being almost completely debunked it still used as the basis for many movies novels and TV series and Sticks in the mind of many who believed it to be true However, there is no evidence to substantiate any of these claims In fact Edie was not even in the country at the time of two of the murders Eddie died at the age of 28 from influenza just weeks before he was due to marry The truth is that however many suspects there are and the theories behind them It's unlikely. We will ever find out who Jack the Ripper really was But that does not diminish the worldwide interest in the mystery Other time the police seems clueless the press attention and macabre headlines hindered the investigation And cause mass hysteria in the area and after four years of drawing a blank the Metropolitan Police Officially closed the case but over a hundred and thirty years later to the public the case is still very much open and Continued to inspire a never-ending stream of books films and television programs All reacting in precise detail the gruesome murders on grim streets of Victorian, London It's easy to forget these crimes were really happened. And there were real victims who lost their lives in the most grotesque way One thing is for sure Thankfully the murders will most likely never be replicated with today's advance investigation techniques and the clues He left behind the killer would have been caught after his first murder and the name Jack the Ripper would not be one of the most notorious names in serial killer history



The cover of Matuszewski book Une nouvelle source de l'histoire. (A New Source of History) from 1898 the first publication about documentary function of cinematography.
The cover of Matuszewski book Une nouvelle source de l'histoire. (A New Source of History) from 1898 the first publication about documentary function of cinematography.

Polish writer and filmmaker Bolesław Matuszewski was among those who identified the mode of documentary film. He wrote two of the earliest texts on cinema Une nouvelle source de l'histoire (eng. A New Source of History) and La photographie animée (eng. Animated photography). Both were published in 1898 in French and among the early written works to consider the historical and documentary value of the film.[3] Matuszewski is also among the first filmmakers to propose the creation of a Film Archive to collect and keep safe visual materials.[4]

In popular myth, the word documentary was coined by Scottish documentary filmmaker John Grierson in his review of Robert Flaherty's film Moana (1926), published in the New York Sun on 8 February 1926, written by "The Moviegoer" (a pen name for Grierson).[5]

Grierson's principles of documentary were that cinema's potential for observing life could be exploited in a new art form; that the "original" actor and "original" scene are better guides than their fiction counterparts to interpreting the modern world; and that materials "thus taken from the raw" can be more real than the acted article. In this regard, Grierson's definition of documentary as "creative treatment of actuality"[6] has gained some acceptance, with this position at variance with Soviet film-maker Dziga Vertov's provocation to present "life as it is" (that is, life filmed surreptitiously) and "life caught unawares" (life provoked or surprised by the camera).

The American film critic Pare Lorentz defines a documentary film as "a factual film which is dramatic."[7] Others further state that a documentary stands out from the other types of non-fiction films for providing an opinion, and a specific message, along with the facts it presents.[8]

Documentary practice is the complex process of creating documentary projects. It refers to what people do with media devices, content, form, and production strategies in order to address the creative, ethical, and conceptual problems and choices that arise as they make documentaries.

Documentary filmmaking can be used as a form of journalism, advocacy, or personal expression.



Early film (pre-1900) was dominated by the novelty of showing an event. They were single-shot moments captured on film: a train entering a station, a boat docking, or factory workers leaving work. These short films were called "actuality" films; the term "documentary" was not coined until 1926. Many of the first films, such as those made by Auguste and Louis Lumière, were a minute or less in length, due to technological limitations.

Films showing many people (for example, leaving a factory) were often made for commercial reasons: the people being filmed were eager to see, for payment, the film showing them. One notable film clocked in at over an hour and a half, The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight. Using pioneering film-looping technology, Enoch J. Rector presented the entirety of a famous 1897 prize-fight on cinema screens across the United States.

In May 1896, Bolesław Matuszewski recorded on film few surigical operations in Warsaw and Saint Petersburg hospitals. In 1898, French surgeon Eugène-Louis Doyen invited Bolesław Matuszewski and Clément Maurice and proposed them to recorded his surigical operations. They started in Paris a series of surgical films sometime before July 1898.[9] Until 1906, the year of his last film, Doyen recorded more than 60 operations. Doyen said that his first films taught him how to correct professional errors he had been unaware of. For scientific purposes, after 1906, Doyen combined 15 of his films into three compilations, two of which survive, the six-film series Extirpation des tumeurs encapsulées (1906), and the four-film Les Opérations sur la cavité crânienne (1911). These and five other of Doyen's films survive.[10]

Frame from one of Marinescu's science films (1899).
Frame from one of Marinescu's science films (1899).

Between July 1898 and 1901, the Romanian professor Gheorghe Marinescu made several science films in his neurology clinic in Bucharest:[11] Walking Troubles of Organic Hemiplegy (1898), The Walking Troubles of Organic Paraplegies (1899), A Case of Hysteric Hemiplegy Healed Through Hypnosis (1899), The Walking Troubles of Progressive Locomotion Ataxy (1900), and Illnesses of the Muscles (1901). All these short films have been preserved. The professor called his works "studies with the help of the cinematograph," and published the results, along with several consecutive frames, in issues of "La Semaine Médicale" magazine from Paris, between 1899 and 1902.[12] In 1924, Auguste Lumiere recognized the merits of Marinescu's science films: "I've seen your scientific reports about the usage of the cinematograph in studies of nervous illnesses, when I was still receiving "La Semaine Médicale," but back then I had other concerns, which left me no spare time to begin biological studies. I must say I forgot those works and I am thankful to you that you reminded them to me. Unfortunately, not many scientists have followed your way."[13][14][15]


Geoffrey Malins with an aeroscope camera during World War I.
Geoffrey Malins with an aeroscope camera during World War I.

Travelogue films were very popular in the early part of the 20th century. They were often referred to by distributors as "scenics." Scenics were among the most popular sort of films at the time.[16] An important early film to move beyond the concept of the scenic was In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914), which embraced primitivism and exoticism in a staged story presented as truthful re-enactments of the life of Native Americans.

Contemplation is a separate area. Pathé is the best-known global manufacturer of such films of the early 20th century. A vivid example is Moscow Clad in Snow (1909).

Biographical documentaries appeared during this time, such as the feature Eminescu-Veronica-Creangă (1914) on the relationship between the writers Mihai Eminescu, Veronica Micle and Ion Creangă (all deceased at the time of the production) released by the Bucharest chapter of Pathé.

Early color motion picture processes such as Kinemacolor—known for the feature With Our King and Queen Through India (1912)—and Prizmacolor—known for Everywhere With Prizma (1919) and the five-reel feature Bali the Unknown (1921)—used travelogues to promote the new color processes. In contrast, Technicolor concentrated primarily on getting their process adopted by Hollywood studios for fictional feature films.

Also during this period, Frank Hurley's feature documentary film, South (1919), about the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was released. The film documented the failed Antarctic expedition led by Ernest Shackleton in 1914.



With Robert J. Flaherty's Nanook of the North in 1922, documentary film embraced romanticism; Flaherty filmed a number of heavily staged romantic films during this time period, often showing how his subjects would have lived 100 years earlier and not how they lived right then. For instance, in Nanook of the North, Flaherty did not allow his subjects to shoot a walrus with a nearby shotgun, but had them use a harpoon instead. Some of Flaherty's staging, such as building a roofless igloo for interior shots, was done to accommodate the filming technology of the time.

Paramount Pictures tried to repeat the success of Flaherty's Nanook and Moana with two romanticized documentaries, Grass (1925) and Chang (1927), both directed by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack.

The city symphony

City symphony films were avant-garde films made during the 1920s to 1930s. These films were particularly influenced by modern art: namely Cubism, Constructivism, and Impressionism. (See A.L Rees, 2011)[17] According to Scott Macdonald (2010), city symphony film can be located as an intersection between documentary and avant-garde film: "avant-doc". However, A.L. Rees suggest to see them as avant-garde films. (Rees, 2011: 35)

City symphony films include Manhatta (dir. Paul Strand, 1921), Paris Nothing but the Hours (dir. Alberto Cavalcanti, 1926), Twenty Four Dollar Island (dir. Robert Flaherty, 1927), Études sur Paris (dir. André Sauvage, 1928), The Bridge (1928), and Rain (1929), both by Joris Ivens.

But the most famous city symphony films are Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (dir. Walter Ruttman, 1927) and The Man with a Movie Camera (dir. Dziga Vertov, 1929).

In this shot from Walter Ruttmann's Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (1927), cyclists race indoors. The film is shot and edited like a visual-poem.
In this shot from Walter Ruttmann's Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (1927), cyclists race indoors. The film is shot and edited like a visual-poem.

A city symphony film, as the name suggests, is usually based around a major metropolitan city area and seek to capture the lives, events and activities of the city. It can be abstract and cinematographic (see Walter Ruttmann's Berlin) or utilise Russian Montage theory (See Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera). But most importantly, a city symphony film is like a cine-poem and is shot and edited like a "symphony".

In this shot from Man with a Movie Camera, Mikhail Kaufman acts as a cameraman risking his life in search of the best shot
In this shot from Man with a Movie Camera, Mikhail Kaufman acts as a cameraman risking his life in search of the best shot

The continental, or realist, tradition focused on humans within human-made environments, and included the so-called "city symphony" films such as Walter Ruttmann's Berlin, Symphony of a City (of which Grierson noted in an article[18] that Berlin represented what a documentary should not be), Alberto Cavalcanti's Rien que les heures, and Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera. These films tend to feature people as products of their environment, and lean towards the avant-garde.


Dziga Vertov was central to the Soviet Kino-Pravda (literally, "cinematic truth") newsreel series of the 1920s. Vertov believed the camera—with its varied lenses, shot-counter shot editing, time-lapse, ability to slow motion, stop motion and fast-motion—could render reality more accurately than the human eye, and made a film philosophy out of it.

Newsreel tradition

The newsreel tradition is important in documentary film; newsreels were also sometimes staged but were usually re-enactments of events that had already happened, not attempts to steer events as they were in the process of happening. For instance, much of the battle footage from the early 20th century was staged; the cameramen would usually arrive on site after a major battle and re-enact scenes to film them.


The propagandist tradition consists of films made with the explicit purpose of persuading an audience of a point. One of the most celebrated and controversial propaganda films is Leni Riefenstahl's film Triumph of the Will (1935), which chronicled the 1934 Nazi Party Congress and was commissioned by Adolf Hitler. Leftist filmmakers Joris Ivens and Henri Storck directed Borinage (1931) about the Belgian coal mining region. Luis Buñuel directed a "surrealist" documentary Las Hurdes (1933).

Pare Lorentz's The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) and The River (1938) and Willard Van Dyke's The City (1939) are notable New Deal productions, each presenting complex combinations of social and ecological awareness, government propaganda, and leftist viewpoints. Frank Capra's Why We Fight (1942–1944) series was a newsreel series in the United States, commissioned by the government to convince the U.S. public that it was time to go to war. Constance Bennett and her husband Henri de la Falaise produced two feature-length documentaries, Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935) filmed in Bali, and Kilou the Killer Tiger (1936) filmed in Indochina.

In Canada, the Film Board, set up by John Grierson, was created for the same propaganda reasons. It also created newsreels that were seen by their national governments as legitimate counter-propaganda to the psychological warfare of Nazi Germany (orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels).

Conference of "World Union of documentary films" in 1948 Warsaw featured famous directors of the era: Basil Wright (on the left), Elmar Klos, Joris Ivens (2nd from the right), and Jerzy Toeplitz.
Conference of "World Union of documentary films" in 1948 Warsaw featured famous directors of the era: Basil Wright (on the left), Elmar Klos, Joris Ivens (2nd from the right), and Jerzy Toeplitz.

In Britain, a number of different filmmakers came together under John Grierson. They became known as the Documentary Film Movement. Grierson, Alberto Cavalcanti, Harry Watt, Basil Wright, and Humphrey Jennings amongst others succeeded in blending propaganda, information, and education with a more poetic aesthetic approach to documentary. Examples of their work include Drifters (John Grierson), Song of Ceylon (Basil Wright), Fires Were Started, and A Diary for Timothy (Humphrey Jennings). Their work involved poets such as W. H. Auden, composers such as Benjamin Britten, and writers such as J. B. Priestley. Among the best known films of the movement are Night Mail and Coal Face.

Film Calling mr. Smith (1943) was anti-nazi color film[19][20][21] created by Stefan Themerson and being both documentary and avant-garde film against war. It was one of the first anti-nazi films in history.



Cinéma vérité (or the closely related direct cinema) was dependent on some technical advances in order to exist: light, quiet and reliable cameras, and portable sync sound.

Cinéma vérité and similar documentary traditions can thus be seen, in a broader perspective, as a reaction against studio-based film production constraints. Shooting on location, with smaller crews, would also happen in the French New Wave, the filmmakers taking advantage of advances in technology allowing smaller, handheld cameras and synchronized sound to film events on location as they unfolded.

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are important differences between cinéma vérité (Jean Rouch) and the North American "Direct Cinema" (or more accurately "Cinéma direct"), pioneered by, among others, Canadians Allan King, Michel Brault, and Pierre Perrault,[citation needed] and Americans Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, Frederick Wiseman, and Albert and David Maysles.

The directors of the movement take different viewpoints on their degree of involvement with their subjects. Kopple and Pennebaker, for instance, choose non-involvement (or at least no overt involvement), and Perrault, Rouch, Koenig, and Kroitor favor direct involvement or even provocation when they deem it necessary.

The films Chronicle of a Summer (Jean Rouch), Dont Look Back (D. A. Pennebaker), Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles), Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman), Primary and Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (both produced by Robert Drew), Harlan County, USA (directed by Barbara Kopple), Lonely Boy (Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor) are all frequently deemed cinéma vérité films.

The fundamentals of the style include following a person during a crisis with a moving, often handheld, camera to capture more personal reactions. There are no sit-down interviews, and the shooting ratio (the amount of film shot to the finished product) is very high, often reaching 80 to one. From there, editors find and sculpt the work into a film. The editors of the movement—such as Werner Nold, Charlotte Zwerin, Muffie Myers, Susan Froemke, and Ellen Hovde—are often overlooked, but their input to the films was so vital that they were often given co-director credits.

Famous cinéma vérité/direct cinema films include Les Raquetteurs,[22] Showman, Salesman, Near Death, and The Children Were Watching.

Political weapons

In the 1960s and 1970s, documentary film was often conceived as a political weapon against neocolonialism and capitalism in general, especially in Latin America, but also in a changing Quebec society. La Hora de los hornos (The Hour of the Furnaces, from 1968), directed by Octavio Getino and Arnold Vincent Kudales Sr., influenced a whole generation of filmmakers. Among the many political documentaries produced in the early 1970s was "Chile: A Special Report," public television's first in-depth expository look of the September 1973 overthrow of the Salvador Allende government in Chile by military leaders under Augusto Pinochet, produced by documentarians Ari Martinez and José Garcia.

Modern documentaries

Box office analysts have noted that this film genre has become increasingly successful in theatrical release with films such as Fahrenheit 9/11, Super Size Me, Food, Inc., Earth, March of the Penguins, Religulous, and An Inconvenient Truth among the most prominent examples. Compared to dramatic narrative films, documentaries typically have far lower budgets which makes them attractive to film companies because even a limited theatrical release can be highly profitable.

The nature of documentary films has expanded in the past 20 years from the cinema verité style introduced in the 1960s in which the use of portable camera and sound equipment allowed an intimate relationship between filmmaker and subject. The line blurs between documentary and narrative and some works are very personal, such as the late Marlon Riggs's Tongues Untied (1989) and Black Is...Black Ain't (1995), which mix expressive, poetic, and rhetorical elements and stresses subjectivities rather than historical materials.[23]

Historical documentaries, such as the landmark 14-hour Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1986—Part 1 and 1989—Part 2) by Henry Hampton, 4 Little Girls (1997) by Spike Lee, and The Civil War by Ken Burns, UNESCO awarded independent film on slavery 500 Years Later, expressed not only a distinctive voice but also a perspective and point of views. Some films such as The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris incorporated stylized re-enactments, and Michael Moore's Roger & Me placed far more interpretive control with the director. The commercial success of these documentaries may derive from this narrative shift in the documentary form, leading some critics to question whether such films can truly be called documentaries; critics sometimes refer to these works as "mondo films" or "docu-ganda."[24] However, directorial manipulation of documentary subjects has been noted since the work of Flaherty, and may be endemic to the form due to problematic ontological foundations.

Documentary filmmakers are increasingly utilizing social impact campaigns with their films.[25] Social impact campaigns seek to leverage media projects by converting public awareness of social issues and causes into engagement and action, largely by offering the audience a way to get involved.[26] Examples of such documentaries include Kony 2012, Salam Neighbor, Gasland, Living on One Dollar, and Girl Rising.

Although documentaries are financially more viable with the increasing popularity of the genre and the advent of the DVD, funding for documentary film production remains elusive. Within the past decade, the largest exhibition opportunities have emerged from within the broadcast market, making filmmakers beholden to the tastes and influences of the broadcasters who have become their largest funding source.[27]

Modern documentaries have some overlap with television forms, with the development of "reality television" that occasionally verges on the documentary but more often veers to the fictional or staged. The making-of documentary shows how a movie or a computer game was produced. Usually made for promotional purposes, it is closer to an advertisement than a classic documentary.

Modern lightweight digital video cameras and computer-based editing have greatly aided documentary makers, as has the dramatic drop in equipment prices. The first film to take full advantage of this change was Martin Kunert and Eric Manes' Voices of Iraq, where 150 DV cameras were sent to Iraq during the war and passed out to Iraqis to record themselves.

Documentaries without words

Films in the documentary form without words have been made. From 1982, the Qatsi trilogy and the similar Baraka could be described as visual tone poems, with music related to the images, but no spoken content. Koyaanisqatsi (part of the Qatsi trilogy) consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse photography of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. Baraka tries to capture the great pulse of humanity as it flocks and swarms in daily activity and religious ceremonies.

Bodysong was made in 2003 and won a British Independent Film Award for "Best British Documentary."

The 2004 film Genesis shows animal and plant life in states of expansion, decay, sex, and death, with some, but little, narration.

Narration styles

Voice-over narrator

The traditional style for narration is to have a dedicated narrator read a script which is dubbed onto the audio track. The narrator never appears on camera and may not necessarily have knowledge of the subject matter or involvement in the writing of the script.

Silent narration

This style of narration uses title screens to visually narrate the documentary. The screens are held for about 5–10 seconds to allow adequate time for the viewer to read them. They are similar to the ones shown at the end of movies based on true stories, but they are shown throughout, typically between scenes.

Hosted narrator

In this style, there is a host who appears on camera, conducts interviews, and who also does voice-overs.

Other forms


Docufiction is a hybrid genre from two basic ones, fiction film and documentary, practiced since the first documentary films were made.


Fake-fiction is a genre which deliberately presents real, unscripted events in the form of a fiction film, making them appear as staged. The concept was introduced[28] by Pierre Bismuth to describe his 2016 film Where is Rocky II?

DVD documentary

A DVD documentary is a documentary film of indeterminate length that has been produced with the sole intent of releasing it for direct sale to the public on DVD(s), as different from a documentary being made and released first on television or on a cinema screen (a.k.a. theatrical release) and subsequently on DVD for public consumption.

This form of documentary release is becoming more popular and accepted as costs and difficulty with finding TV or theatrical release slots increases. It is also commonly used for more 'specialist' documentaries, which might not have general interest to a wider TV audience. Examples are military, cultural arts, transport, sports, etc..

Compilation films

Compilation films were pioneered in 1927 by Esfir Schub with The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty. More recent examples include Point of Order (1964), directed by Emile de Antonio about the McCarthy hearings. Similarly, The Last Cigarette combines the testimony of various tobacco company executives before the U.S. Congress with archival propaganda extolling the virtues of smoking.

Poetic documentaries, which first appeared in the 1920s, were a sort of reaction against both the content and the rapidly crystallizing grammar of the early fiction film. The poetic mode moved away from continuity editing and instead organized images of the material world by means of associations and patterns, both in terms of time and space. Well-rounded characters—"lifelike people"—were absent; instead, people appeared in these films as entities, just like any other, that are found in the material world. The films were fragmentary, impressionistic, lyrical. Their disruption of the coherence of time and space—a coherence favored by the fiction films of the day—can also be seen as an element of the modernist counter-model of cinematic narrative. The "real world"—Nichols calls it the "historical world"—was broken up into fragments and aesthetically reconstituted using film form. Examples of this style include Joris Ivens' Rain (1928), which records a passing summer shower over Amsterdam; László Moholy-Nagy's Play of Light: Black, White, Grey (1930), in which he films one of his own kinetic sculptures, emphasizing not the sculpture itself but the play of light around it; Oskar Fischinger's abstract animated films; Francis Thompson's N.Y., N.Y. (1957), a city symphony film; and Chris Marker's Sans Soleil (1982).

Expository documentaries speak directly to the viewer, often in the form of an authoritative commentary employing voiceover or titles, proposing a strong argument and point of view. These films are rhetorical, and try to persuade the viewer. (They may use a rich and sonorous male voice.) The (voice-of-God) commentary often sounds 'objective' and omniscient. Images are often not paramount; they exist to advance the argument. The rhetoric insistently presses upon us to read the images in a certain fashion. Historical documentaries in this mode deliver an unproblematic and 'objective' account and interpretation of past events.

Examples: TV shows and films like Biography, America's Most Wanted, many science and nature documentaries, Ken Burns' The Civil War (1990), Robert Hughes' The Shock of the New (1980), John Berger's Ways Of Seeing (1974), Frank Capra's wartime Why We Fight series, and Pare Lorentz's The Plow That Broke The Plains (1936).


film team at Port of Dar es Salaam with two ferries
film team at Port of Dar es Salaam with two ferries

Observational documentaries attempt to simply and spontaneously observe lived life with a minimum of intervention. Filmmakers who worked in this subgenre often saw the poetic mode as too abstract and the expository mode as too didactic. The first observational docs date back to the 1960s; the technological developments which made them possible include mobile lighweight cameras and portable sound recording equipment for synchronized sound. Often, this mode of film eschewed voice-over commentary, post-synchronized dialogue and music, or re-enactments. The films aimed for immediacy, intimacy, and revelation of individual human character in ordinary life situations.


Participatory documentaries believe that it is impossible for the act of filmmaking to not influence or alter the events being filmed. What these films do is emulate the approach of the anthropologist: participant-observation. Not only is the filmmaker part of the film, we also get a sense of how situations in the film are affected or altered by their presence. Nichols: "The filmmaker steps out from behind the cloak of voice-over commentary, steps away from poetic meditation, steps down from a fly-on-the-wall perch, and becomes a social actor (almost) like any other. (Almost like any other because the filmmaker retains the camera, and with it, a certain degree of potential power and control over events.)" The encounter between filmmaker and subject becomes a critical element of the film. Rouch and Morin named the approach cinéma vérité, translating Dziga Vertov's kinopravda into French; the "truth" refers to the truth of the encounter rather than some absolute truth.

Reflexive documentaries do not see themselves as a transparent window on the world; instead, they draw attention to their own constructedness, and the fact that they are representations. How does the world get represented by documentary films? This question is central to this subgenre of films. They prompt us to "question the authenticity of documentary in general." It is the most self-conscious of all the modes, and is highly skeptical of 'realism'. It may use Brechtian alienation strategies to jar us, in order to 'defamiliarize' what we are seeing and how we are seeing it.

Performative documentaries stress subjective experience and emotional response to the world. They are strongly personal, unconventional, perhaps poetic and/or experimental, and might include hypothetical enactments of events designed to make us experience what it might be like for us to possess a certain specific perspective on the world that is not our own, e.g. that of black, gay men in Marlon Riggs's Tongues Untied (1989) or Jenny Livingston's Paris Is Burning (1991). This subgenre might also lend itself to certain groups (e.g. women, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, etc.) to 'speak about themselves.' Often, a battery of techniques, many borrowed from fiction or avant-garde films, are used. Performative docs often link up personal accounts or experiences with larger political or historical realities.


There are several challenges associated with translation of documentaries. The main two are working conditions and problems with terminology.

Working conditions

Documentary translators very often have to meet tight deadlines. Normally, the translator has between five and seven days to hand over the translation of a 90-minute programme. Dubbing studios typically give translators a week to translate a documentary, but in order to earn a good salary, translators have to deliver their translations in a much shorter period, usually when the studio decides to deliver the final programme to the client sooner or when the broadcasting channel sets a tight deadline, e.g. on documentaries discussing the latest news.[29]

Another problem is the lack of postproduction script or the poor quality of the transcription. A correct transcription is essential for a translator to do their work properly, however many times the script is not even given to the translator, which is a major impediment since documentaries are characterised by "the abundance of terminological units and very specific proper names".[30] When the script is given to the translator, it is usually poorly transcribed or outright incorrect making the translation unnecessarily difficult and demanding because all of the proper names and specific terminology have to be correct in a documentary programme in order for it to be a reliable source of information, hence the translator has to check every term on their own. Such mistakes in proper names are for instance: "Jungle Reinhard instead of Django Reinhart, Jorn Asten instead of Jane Austen, and Magnus Axle instead of Aldous Huxley".[30]


The process of translation of a documentary programme requires working with very specific, often scientific terminology. Documentary translators usually are not specialist in a given field. Therefore, they are compelled to undertake extensive research whenever asked to make a translation of a specific documentary programme in order to understand it correctly and deliver the final product free of mistakes and inaccuracies. Generally, documentaries contain a large amount of specific terms, with which translators have to familiarise themselves on their own, for example:

The documentary Beetles, Record Breakers makes use of 15 different terms to refer to beetles in less than 30 minutes (longhorn beetle, cellar beetle, stag beetle, burying beetle or gravediggers, sexton beetle, tiger beetle, bloody nose beetle, tortoise beetle, diving beetle, devil’s coach horse, weevil, click beetle, malachite beetle, oil beetle, cockchafer), apart from mentioning other animals such as horseshoe bats or meadow brown butterflies.[31]

This poses a real challenge for the translators because they have to render the meaning, i.e. find an equivalent, of a very specific, scientific term in the target language and frequently the narrator uses a more general name instead of a specific term and the translator has to rely on the image presented in the programme to understand which term is being discussed in order to transpose it in the target language accordingly.[32] Additionally, translators of minorised languages often have to face another problem: some terms may not even exist in the target language. In such case, they have to create new terminology or consult specialists to find proper solutions. Also, sometimes the official nomenclature differs from the terminology used by actual specialists, which leaves the translator to decide between using the official vocabulary that can be found in the dictionary, or rather opting for spontaneous expressions used by real experts in real life situations.[33]

See also

Some documentary film awards

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". Archived from the original on 25 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ Nichols, Bill. 'Foreword', in Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski (eds.) Documenting The Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997
  3. ^ Scott MacKenzie, Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology, Univ of California Press 2014, ISBN 9780520957411, p.520
  4. ^ James Chapman, "Film and History. Theory and History" part "Film as historical source" p.73-75, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, ISBN 9781137367327
  5. ^ Ann Curthoys, Marilyn Lake Connected worlds: history in transnational perspective, Volume 2004 p.151. Australian National University Press
  6. ^ "History/Film". Archived from the original on 26 March 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Pare Lorentz Film Library - FDR and Film". 24 July 2011. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ Larry Ward (Fall 2008). "Introduction" (PDF). Lecture Notes for the BA in Radio-TV-Film (RTVF). 375: Documentary Film & Television. California State University, Fullerton (College of communications): 4, slide 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-03.
  9. ^ Charles Ford, Robert Hammond: Polish Film: A Twentieth Century History. McFarland, 2005. ISBN 9781476608037, p.10.
  10. ^ Baptista, Tiago (November 2005). ""Il faut voir le maître": A Recent Restoration of Surgical Films by E.-L. Doyen, 1859-1916". Journal of Film Preservation (70).
  11. ^ Mircea Dumitrescu, O privire critică asupra filmului românesc, Brașov, 2005, ISBN 978-973-9153-93-5
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Sources and bibliography

Ethnographic film

  • Emilie de Brigard, "The History of Ethnographic Film," in Principles of Visual Anthropology, ed. Paul Hockings. Berlin and New York : Mouton de Gruyter, 1995, pp. 13–43.
  • Leslie Devereaux, "Cultures, Disciplines, Cinemas," in Fields of Vision. Essays in Film Studies, Visual Anthropology and Photography, ed. Leslie Devereaux & Roger Hillman. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995, pp. 329–339.
  • Faye Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod and Brian Larkin (eds.), Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-520-23231-0.
  • Anna Grimshaw, The Ethnographer's Eye: Ways of Seeing in Modern Anthropology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-521-77310-2.
  • Karl G. Heider, Ethnographic Film. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994.
  • Luc de Heusch, Cinéma et Sciences Sociales, Paris: UNESCO, 1962. Published in English as The Cinema and Social Science. A Survey of Ethnographic and Sociological Films. UNESCO, 1962.
  • Fredric Jameson, Signatures of the Visible. New York & London: Routledge, 1990.
  • Pierre-L. Jordan, Premier Contact-Premier Regard, Marseille: Musées de Marseille. Images en Manoeuvres Editions, 1992.
  • André Leroi-Gourhan, "Cinéma et Sciences Humaines. Le Film Ethnologique Existe-t-il?," Revue de Géographie Humaine et d'Ethnologie 3 (1948), pp. 42–50.
  • David MacDougall, Transcultural Cinema. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-691-01234-6.
  • David MacDougall, "Whose Story Is It?," in Ethnographic Film Aesthetics and Narrative Traditions, ed. Peter I. Crawford and Jan K. Simonsen. Aarhus, Intervention Press, 1992, pp. 25–42.
  • Fatimah Tobing Rony, The Third Eye: Race, Cinema and Ethnographic Spectacle. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-8223-1840-8.
  • Georges Sadoul, Histoire Générale du Cinéma. Vol. 1, L'Invention du Cinéma 1832–1897. Paris: Denöel, 1977, pp. 73–110.
  • Pierre Sorlin, Sociologie du Cinéma, Paris: Aubier Montaigne, 1977, pp. 7–74.
  • Charles Warren, "Introduction, with a Brief History of Nonfiction Film," in Beyond Document. Essays on Nonfiction Film, ed. Charles Warren. Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press, 1996, pp. 1–22.
  • Ismail Xavier, "Cinema: Revelação e Engano," in O Olhar, ed. Adauto Novaes. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1993, pp. 367–384.

External links

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