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Directing the Documentary, 5th Edition by Michael Rabiger

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Chapter 20Reenactment, Reconstruction, and Docudrama

Reenacting Events

A controversial aspect of the documentary is its ability to conjecture. You do this on a minor scale when you ask questions, expose contradictions, or juxtapose opposites in order to make the audience find answers to the tension you have created. Conjecture on a larger scale often means reconstructing bygone situations. Perhaps some vital episode in your subject’s life happened before you began filming—a crucial career interview, say, for a job that your reformed criminal main character has already begun. The company decided to take a chance and hire him, and this has changed his life. For him the encounter was pivotal, so you need to represent it in the film. Your participants ...

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