Reading Response #5 – Abbie Rush

In Nichols article, “Why are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Film Making,” he discusses film in a way that depicts every film as a documentary. He describes two types of film, the first being documentaries of wish fulfillment and the second being documentaries of social representation. This reminded me about our class discussion from many weeks back which was also based off of one of Nichols’ readings but the argument was reversed; in the past discussion the argument was that every documentary is a narrative film in a way. In his article we are currently discussing, Nichols goes on to discuss the 3 ways in which documentary engages with the world by representing it. The first was that it offers a likeness of the world that bears a recognizable familiarity. The second was that they stand for the interests of others, and the third is that they represent the world in the same way a lawyer would represent a client’s interests. This piece of the article is what stood out to me the most because it made me think of documentary film in an entirely different light. Up until now, I hadn’t thought about documentary in a way that it is representing the world and standing for interests of others; I had thought about it more as a way of research and informative or even bias rather than doing good for others. After reading this, I put some thought into the documentaries that I have watched over the last couple of months and decided to take on the thinking of Nichols to see if I would view one of these documentaries differently by doing this. I decided to attach the link to the Amanda Knox documentary because it was one that really stood out to me as a film that was standing for the interests of others and representing someone like a lawyer would.