Errol Morris is a documentary filmmaker who has a blog on the New York Times website. In his most recent blog he discusses at length the idea of photographic truth. Specifically, he is discussing the use of re-enactments in documentary films (a tool he used in A Thin Blue Line) and whether they are an appropriate tool in documentary films. He writes:
"Critics argue that the use of re-enactments suggest a callous disregard on the part of a filmmaker for what is true. I don’t agree. Some re-enactments serve the truth, others subvert it. There is no mode of expression, no technique of production that will instantly produce truth or falsehood. There is no veritas lens – no lens that provides a “truthful” picture of events. There is cinema vérité and kino pravda but no cinematic truth.
The engine of uncovering truth is not some special lens or even the unadorned human eye; it is unadorned human reason. It wasn’t a cinema vérité documentary that got Randall Dale Adams out of prison. It was film that re-enacted important details of the crime. It was an investigation – part of which was done with a camera. The re-enactments capture the important details of that investigation. It’s not re-enactments per se that are wrong or inappropriate. It’s the use of them. I use re-enactments to burrow underneath the surface of reality in an attempt to uncover some hidden truth."
Obviously there are links to what he is discussing here to the material we are covering in class. I would highly encourage anyone/everyone to check out his blog- he writes about photography and filmmaking in a truly insightful and thought-provoking (and yet still accessible) way.
The blog excepted above can be found at: http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/play-it-again-sam-re-enactments-part-one/index.html