Owen Swallow – Reading Response V – Nichols

I found this reading entitled “Why Are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Filmmaking?” to be a very insightful read. One of the first, and in my opinion the most interesting, take away from this chapter was Nichols point about ‘all films being documentaries’. This was a point of view I hadn’t really considered but after it had been explained it made much more sense. The idea that all films, even narrativized films, capture some interpretation of reality does raise some good points (although, what we deem as being ‘realistic’ certainly has changed). I also thought this reading connected to a lot of documentaries we have talked about, and I mean the more standard definition of documentary. It relates to Michael Moore’s documentaries, the short documentary made on the actor in “Little Dieter Needs to Fly”, and so on and so forth. I also notice myself noticing the points made on ethics in documentaries in most documentaries I have watched recently. One of the films I watched, “Lost Soul”, focuses on the making of a film adaptation of “Island of Doctor Moreau”. I started to consider how each person was represented in relation to the film, whether they were depicted positively or negatively. I also tried to discern the message the documentarian was trying to get across, but that’s beside the point. In conclusion, this reading was very applicable not just within class, but within my own consumption of media. I’d recommend it.