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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Documentary ABOUT those who make documentaries
This is another class act from the National Film Board of Canada, which is continually winning awards for the quality of its productions. Director Pepita Ferrari interviewed 38 well-known documentarians for the core 97-minute film. You'll know a few like Errol Morris and Albert Maysles and you've probably seen a few of films covered, such as "Touching the Void". After...
Published on October 11, 2009 by Steve Ramm

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of yak but...
I thought this dvd was reasonable but not really what I was looking for. I wanted something for my Film Studies students and although it has one or two useful comments in it, mainly, it's about the experience of filming rather than the technique of film. One or two nuggets of good advice and that's it. But, nevertheless, some interesting comments about the film making...
Published on January 11, 2012 by indovision


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Documentary ABOUT those who make documentaries, October 11, 2009
This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
This is another class act from the National Film Board of Canada, which is continually winning awards for the quality of its productions. Director Pepita Ferrari interviewed 38 well-known documentarians for the core 97-minute film. You'll know a few like Errol Morris and Albert Maysles and you've probably seen a few of films covered, such as "Touching the Void". After watching this you'll probably head to your local video store (or Amazon) to seek out some more. The 163 film clips includes are just teasers.

I was thrilled to see that French Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade was included. His two English language films - made for HBO - "Murder on a Sunday Morning" and "The Staircase" are two of my all-time favorites and I wanted to know more about him. (See my reviews of these films elsewhere on Amazon). The bonus features consist of additional interview segments and can be searched by topic or by the director's name. There's almost four hours worth! I did find the navigation of these segments a bit hard to maneuver but that was the only thing I found to be lacking in the DVD.

If you love watching documentaries, this is a DVD you must see. It explains both the thought process and the differing opinions among the filmmakers as to whether music is necessary and whether its appropriate to dramatize certain scenes. If you are new to the genre - maybe you have only seen hits like "Grey Gardens" or "Hoop Dreams" or "The Thin Blue Line" - consider this a starting place to explore further.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good variety of viewpoints., March 22, 2010
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This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
The DVD is arranged by topics with various individuals giving their perspective. Also included are conversations with filmmakers about their work and approach to making documentary film. It should be noted that this is produced by a Canadian group so filmmakers are largely from Canada. I think it offers a good insight into the way people approach their work leading you to learn that creating your own style is important. I would definitely recommend the DVDs for anyone serious interested in making documentaries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of yak but..., January 11, 2012
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This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
I thought this dvd was reasonable but not really what I was looking for. I wanted something for my Film Studies students and although it has one or two useful comments in it, mainly, it's about the experience of filming rather than the technique of film. One or two nuggets of good advice and that's it. But, nevertheless, some interesting comments about the film making process.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mission Plan of any Documentarian, March 16, 2010
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This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
If you are thinking of covering a topic or are already doing so, you have to realize that you have a big responsibility to your audience and subject. This DVD takes you to those men and women that do make docs, and they tell us about being out in field, how they handle real situations, and how they capture events. This is very good for getting a grip on just what it means to tell someone's story, or to record an event. All story tellers have to show respect to those they record or tell about. The footage here is great too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different Perspectives On What Constitutes Truth In Cinema: Essential For Film Enthusiasts, October 21, 2011
This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
2008's "Capturing Reality" is an essential film for anyone with an interest in documentary filmmaking. With the genre expanding and evolving, the boundaries of traditional documentaries has been and is being stretched and explored. Here, you get to see some of the top filmmakers in the world (Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Albert Maysles among others) offering their spin on truth and perspective. Not everyone agrees on what should be or should not be allowed in the genre, but that's part of what makes this picture so insightful. There is a lot of specific talk about a number of great and important films, about the process, and about cinema in general. A must-see for true cinephiles. KGHarris, 10/11.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sol, June 21, 2012
This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
Many people confuse truth with reality, and given this film's title, it would have behooved Ferrari to explore the very difference between reality and the truth so many of the interviewees declaim. The two words are not synonyms. Truth requires an act of volition whereas reality does not. If I am wearing a blue shirt, that is reality. If you say to me, `Dan, you are wearing a blue shirt,' that is a truth. Reality doesn't care if it is noticed or not, but a truth always requires an act of notice, but the reality is that reality is sometimes best gotten to via the use of falsehoods, many of the like that Herzog and Morris employ. What separates a propagandist like Moore from Morris and Herzog is that Moore is not even aiming for reality; he is simply pushing an agenda; and one that may contain elements of truth.

When Kevin MacDonald speaks of his making of Into The Void, wherein re-enactments constitute the bulk of the film, the documentary then turns over to the special effects, sound, and technical aspects of the documentary film, and the film picks up the interest level because, frankly, too much of the film is wasted upon mediocrities preaching about whatever philosophic or political ax they have to wield. Instead, masters like Herzog, Morris, and Maysles had far more to offer. Jessica Yu, as example, whose 2004 documentary, In The Realms Of The Unreal, chronicled the debauched life of psychotic unpublished hack author Henry Darger, shows why the film needed to stick with the masters more than the wannabes, for her film was larded with hyperbole that ultimately gave no insight into the warped mind of Darger, nor any insight into why Yu obsessed over this character who, by all rights, should have been sucking on his toes in a mental institution. Yu's idea of a story is merely anything that interests her, and in watching the film it's instructive to note the solipsism by which these filmmakers operate.

It is little wonder that the documentary film has fallen into such banality in the last decade. Yes, more people make these films than ever, but more make bad documentaries than ever before. This is because, like Ferrari, they pick poor subjects to film, they do not enliven those subjects with their craft, and they follow their own compulsions over material that will interest and inform a wide audience, not merely satiate their own picayune `visions.' Capturing Reality: The Art Of Documentary is not a bad film, but it's not good, either. Had it paid more attention to details like story, editing, visuals, scoring, then it may have scored well. As is, it's a wannabe, which is a reality all too real in this art form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must see for the Fan to the Professional, September 16, 2013
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This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
Excellent insight into the art of filmmaking. For the fan to the professional.
Must see. It captures the essence of telling a story.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not worth the plastic, March 24, 2011
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This review is from: Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (DVD)
This DVD just interviews some documentary filmmakers and one says one thing, another says something completely different. Bottom line, just get out there and do it in your own style. Very little if any technical details on using film making equipment or lighting, or sound suggestions. Mainly dialog of personal opinions. Very boring. Sorry I bought it, but you never know. Too bad I couldn't have rented it first.
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Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary
Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary by Pepita Ferrari (DVD - 2009)
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