DOCUMENTARY AS A PHANTOM
Vіsnik Harkіvs'kogo nacіonal'nogo unіversitetu іmenі V. N. Karazіna. Serіâ Teorіâ kul'turi і fіlosofіâ nauki
The aim of the study is to reflect on the problem of the "documentariness" of documentary films based on the refinement of the semantic spectrum of the "documentary" concept. The definitions spectrum of the "documentary" concept in classical and post-non-classical film studies from B. Matushevsky, J. Grierson and D. Vertov to R. M. Barsam, J. Gaines, P. Lorentz, R. D. McKenn, B. Nichols, M. Renov, L. Ward (and others) is analyzed. As a generalization of these definitions, the author's
... of "documentary" is proposed: the term "documentary" refers to a film not as an affirmative form of a completed film statement, but as an interrogative form of an open film gesture balancing on the verge of "truth" and "fiction", as the continuity of an implicit mutual transition between non-fiction and fiction methods of cinema narration, a kind of hybrid between the video fixation of authentic facts with documentary value and their cinematic interpretation, which involves a reconfiguration of the reality caused by the "observer effect," an interpretation of documented facts, and a creative implication of the ideas of the authors of the film. are a kind of hybrid between cinema recording of authentic facts of documentary value and cinematic interpretation of them, which involves reconfiguration of reality caused by the "observer effect", author's interpretation of documented facts and creative implication of the ideas of movie makers. "Hybrid" genres combining the features of documentary and features of non-fiction film are described: "docudrama", "mockumentary", and the "art-dock". The problem of the "documentariness" of documentary is considered with the help of a number of film cases from L. Riefenstahl, P. Watkins and R. Carmen to V. Mansky, S. Loznitsa and I. Khrzhanovsky. The main conclusion to the study is the assertion that there is sufficient reason to consider "documentary" a very abstracted "empty signifier" – a concept with a "blurred semantic field" and a "weak ontological status". In general, the "documentariness" of documentary is as much desired as the shaky movie illusion: there are documentary shotings and documentary shots as the primary material of the film, but the "documentary" film as such does not exist, or it is a phantom.