The documentary approach has never stopped expanding and changing, which makes it a slippery beast to pin down. It does however always concern real people doing real things in their own real lives. As such, people were filming reality of one sort or another from cinema’s very beginnings in the 1890s, and onward through the Edwardian and World War I periods that followed (Figure 2-1). Until the pioneer documentarian Robert Flaherty (Figure 2-2) orchestrated nonfiction material to say something overarching about the human condition, nobody had thought of using factual materials as Flaherty did. Others had used reality to tell a narrative, but Flaherty added thematic and socially critical aspects ...

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