When I hear the word ‘Documentary’ or see it on a course outline, I automatically think it is going to be boring and that I will have absolutely no interest in watching it at all. I mean, thats usually what happens when I am forced to watch a documentary of some sort; the only ones I can remember actually paying attention to and enjoying are documentaries about boys bands.
Stories We Tell (2012) is a documentary written and directed by Sarah Polley. The film follows Sarah’s family members telling their story of their family, her mother, and most importantly about Polley’s biological father. Not going to lie, when we watched it in class…I was bored, but I also did not give it much of a chance. I re-watched it last night and was much more interested in the story being told. Polley’s family members, and friends of the family, all had many different views and variations of stories about Diane, Polley’s mother. Different peoples views/stories and how they tell the story influences the way we perceive them.
After reading the articles provided for us, I have familiarized myself a little more with the different type of documentaries. I honestly didn’t know what the difference was. From the 4 types of documentary styles, Expository is commonly referred to us the more traditional style of documentary. Expository documentaries are usually about history or wild life. It involves a voiceover commentary, the speaker (which we don’t see) literally explains what we are seeing. The example that was provided for us
(for those of you who might not have read the article: http://blog.nfb.ca/blog/2014/08/04/types-of-documentary-films/) was City of Gold (1949):
Stories We Tell on the other hand is a Reflexive style of documentary. Reflexive documentaries are much more raw in the sense that it is a more experimental style of documentary. Usually, the filmmaker shows us behind the scenes of the film, the making of the film. It exposes the filmmaker, in this case Sarah Polley, who is usually behind the scenes and instead shows her learning and researching things about her family and her mother.
I feel that this style of documentary challenges a views notion of truth because, like I had mentioned earlier, it is much more raw. In a expository style of documentary, facts are facts. We believe what we are being told and what we are seeing is truth and theres no other story to it. In reflexive, it is so much more bare and we see the film forming around the filmmakers research and are basically learning about the topic with them. With this documentary, we see Polley’s family members all talk about the topic at hand and they all react differently, they all have their own ways of telling the story. Some of them just have their own part of the story that no one else knew…that leads to Sarah finding out who her biological father is.