From Nanook of the North to Exit Through the Gift Shop, an overview of nonfiction film history from the early pioneers to the directors dominating the field today
As one of the most fascinating areas of filmmaking, documentaries have broken down societal taboos, changed legislation, strengthened and rocked entire governments, freed wrongly convicted prisoners, and taught us more about the world in which we live. This overview of documentary history takes readers from the early "actualities" of pioneering nonfiction filmmakers such as Robert J. Flaherty and John Grierson, to the documentaries of Michael Moore, Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, and the directors dominating the field—and box office—today. An essential resource for film students, documentary buffs, filmmakers, and anyone interested in nonfiction film, it looks in-depth at more than 60 documentaries from around the world, covering a century of cinema, to illustrate what "documentary" means, and the changes and transitions that have occurred in nonfiction filmmaking over the years. Covering films such as Night Mail, Night and Fog, The Sorrow and the Pity, F for Fake, The Thin Blue Line, Hoop Dreams, Fahrenheit 9/11, Grizzly Man, and Man on Wire, each analysis includes an introductory synopsis, as well as detailed notes on the film's production history, filmmaker, unique innovations, construction, and key themes and issues.