Documentary film

From ArticleWorld

While the majority of films are works of fiction, the documentary is factual. There are films that are based on true events, but which involve the use of artistic license, such as Schindler’s List. These are not classed as documentaries, but are fiction films, based on true events. The documentary often involves the filming of interviews with experts, and of people undertaking their daily lives. Films concerning nature and animals, which show them in their natural habitat going about their general daily lives, are often seen to be documentaries. Many documentaries are biased towards one viewpoint in an argument and so subconsciously encourage the viewer to side with them. Others merely serve to educate and entertain the viewer.

The 21st Century

Over the past few years, documentaries have grown in popularity and some are now released in cinemas worldwide. This is not seen as much of a risk to the studios as the films generally have a low budget and so recoup this fairly quickly if the film is well received by audiences. Examples of recent documentary successes include Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11. These films document two very controversial issues and the public was divided as to their appropriateness. However, both achieved much critical acclaim and were seen by millions around the world. The success of this genre has encouraged more film makers to produce documentaries on a diverse range of subjects. A recent example of a worldwide release of a nature documentary, March of the Penguins, merely serves to reinforce the huge increase in popularity of the genre over recent years.


The DVD has taken off hugely as the medium on which to watch films at home. Many of these include extra features which are not available on VHS and which were not seen at the cinema. A regular bonus feature is that of the making-of documentary. This involves filming what happens behind the scenes while a film is being made and gives the viewer a first hand insight into life on a film set.