When we think of documentary films, we probably call to mind certain familiar forms, such as archival footage of World War II battles or British-accented narration of natural scenes. But conceived in the broadest terms, the documentary is an extremely diverse cinematic genre with at least as much room for artistic experimentation as the fictional film. This program is intended to trace the fascinating variety of short documentary films, which spans the roughly century-long history of cinema itself.
In different ways, the films featured in this program explore the possible meanings of cinema as a vehicle for human knowledge and aesthetic pleasure. Some are self-consciously experimental, while others challenge us through their historical and cultural distance from our ingrained habits of perception. All these films both expand our experience of the world and force us to re-examine our comfortable relationship with the “reality” that film presents.
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