Will documentary cinema still be around in twenty years? And if so, in what form?

On the occasion of 20th anniversary of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival we have invited our guests to join us in contemplating the future of documentary cinema.

In twenty years, we will be emancipated from audio-visual rhetoric and the way in which it legitimizes the tentacular and sophisticated excrescences of liberalism. In twenty years, we will all be busy discussing films at democratic forums that film festivals will still be and the films themselves will be at odds with the frenzied movement of the agglomerated, tacky mass of the visual flows. In twenty years, we will be caught up in radical dissidence and it will be a matter of urgency to share federating visions. In twenty years, we will be busy together, joyfully and seriously, recasting the political and poetic shapes of this cinéma du réel that gives meaning to the world. Creation will invent necessarily-subjective narratives that will transcend the established genres. In twenty years, we will have escaped the loneliness of the digital-web hypermarkets that shape docile consumers. In twenty years, we will be disruptive contemporaries in the comfort of our convictions and in the magnificent discomfort of the risks we take in filming true stories: those of the world, its disasters and achievements, its nightmares and wonders, its irreducible complexity and beauty.

Jean Perret, Film Historian and Scholar


It’s difficult to answer such a question; 20 years is a long period of time and I’m not a soothsayer.

Rather, one can try to imagine what is going to happen in the following years, with the growing importance of contemporary art practices within the traditional documentary field, or the fusion of documentary formats and fictional structures in objects addressed to a larger audience. But if we want to play a short sci-fi game we can imagine that in the world of 2036, a massive 3D invasion will have taken place, having as a consequence an even more dramatic development of all these films favouring entertainment and performance at any price, instead of a deep quiet look on humanity…

That being said, I don’t share the catastrophic tone of your question: “Will documentary films still be around in 20 years?” Of course they will be around! Like any other forms of cinema. According to some prophets of doom, cinema should have been long dead already, but films are still being made and we are constantly wondering how to improve all the processes they require.

Well, my friends, let's have fun! Times are changing but our struggle continues.

Luciano Barrisone, Director of Visions du Réel


Of course, there will be radical changes. The world of cinema may change, the world of media and probably also the way one sees films. It may be even thinkable that cinema and the way cinema exists in our days will not exist anymore in the near future.

But however big the changes might be, one thing will never change: the need and the wish of humans to see, to know, to experience the TRUTH. As long as documentary filmmaking is dedicated to that wish it will exist, whatever its form or its way of seeing might be in the near future.

Ulrich Seidl, Documentarian





more articles from a section:  Survey

dok.revueJak to vidí kritika?Na stránkách dok.revue najdete od roku 2020 hvězdokupu, v níž přední čeští filmoví kritici a přední české filmové kritičky a také jedna slovenská kritička budou zhruba třikrát až čtyřikrát ročně udílet vybraným současným českým i světovým dokumentům počet hvězdiček, podle nichž dílo hodnotí. V této chvíli přinášíme dvě tabulky: jednu z března a druhou – aktuální – z počátku září.redakce dok.revue
F4.16Will documentary cinema still be around in twenty years? And if so, in what form?Contemplating the future of documentary cinema by Michal BregamtMichal Bregant
F4.16Will documentary cinema still be around in twenty years? And if so, in what form? Part 2On the occasion of 20th anniversary of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival we have invited our guests to join us in contemplating the future of documentary cinema. Part 2Khavn De La Cruz
F3.16Will documentary still be around in twenty years? And if so, in what form? Part 1On the occasion of 20th anniversary of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival we have invited our guests to join us in contemplating the future of documentary cinema.
F2.16Will documentary still be around in twenty years? And if so, in what form? The director of Jihlava IDFF answers the visionary questionMarek Hovorka
F1.16The Future of Documentary Film Through the Eyes of Mike HoolboomMike Hoolboom on images and the future of documentary filmMike Hoolboom
6.15Annual Survey: Film & Book / part 3Which documentary and book influenced Czech filmmakers, producers, theorists, historians, pedagogues the most in the previous year, and why?
6.15Annual Survey: Film & Book / part 2Which documentary and book influenced Czech filmmakers, producers, theorists, historians, pedagogues the most in the previous year, and why?
6.15Annual Survey: Film & Book / part 1Which documentary and book influenced Czech filmmakers, producers, theorists, historians, pedagogues the most in the previous year, and why?
f1.15Most Interesting Items in the 19th annual Jihlava IDFF Program According to Festival GuestsWhat do filmmakers and festival guests look forward to the most and what are the things you definitely should not miss.Jitka Lanšperková

starší články

F5.16DOK.REVUE
30. 10. 2016


from current issue:

Situational reviewThe creators of Havel didn’t know that they don’t know. And that’s the worst kind of not knowing!Is director Slávek Horák’s film Havel truly chaos that says nothing at all about the recent history of our Czech nation or its first president? Or are the filmmakers entitled to artistic license and allowed to create whatever they like, despite giving the film and its main character the name Havel? And what does it say about the times we live in that from the legacy of the influential playwright, intellectual, politician, and master of words, the filmmakers chose to focus solely on his slightly sensationalised private life?Kamila BoháčkováNew releaseHeaven over Today’s ChinaWhat is the story behind the feature-length documentary, Heaven, focusing on a Chinese Christian-run orphanage that is also a testimony about today’s China? Director Tomáš Etzler sees the film as a logical ending of his seven years in the Middle Kingdom. The second contribution was written by editor Adéla Špaljová who describes her collaboration with the director on the creation of the final cut of the documentary.Tomáš Etzler, Adéla ŠpaljováNew releaseAs Far As Possible Ukrainian documentarian Ganna Iaroshevych describes how she has been preparing her new film called As Far As Possible. It´s a portray of a man who decided to leave Germany and lives in the Ukrainian mountains fighting against the extinction of water buffaloes. „Our film tells about an alternative way of slow living close to nature and animals, and in harmony with yourself. And it seems to us that now this topic is especially relevant to many people around the globe,“ says Ganna Iaroshevych.Ganna JaroševičNew releaseThe Alchemical FurnaceJan Daňhel describes the concept behind his documentary film Alchemical Furnace that portrays the figure and work of Jan Švankmajer.ThemeIt comes right from the bellyIn this personal essay, a Danish sound designer Peter Albrechtsen remembers one of the world's greatest and most unique modern film composers, Jóhann Jóhannsson. This article was written in 2018, shortly after the Jóhannsson´s death, but has never been published.PoemGramsci’s NotebooksMike HoolboomInterviewKarel Vachek: Films Just Have to Make You Laugh!A doyen of Czech documentary filmmaking Karel Vachek unfortunately passed away on the 21th of December 2020. We publish here the interview he made in 2019 just after releasing his last film, the ninth film novel called Communism and the Net or the End of Representative Democracy. Fifty years after Prague Spring and thirty years after the Velvet Revolution, Karel Vachek “with his inner laughter” looks back on the evolution of our society and predicts a transformation to direct democracy based on the possibilities of the internet that will allow for the engagement of the whole mankind without the need of representatives. Kamila BoháčkováNew BookArmy Film and the Avant Garde?American film historian Alice Lovejoy discusses how her book Army Film and the Avant Garde: Cinema and Experiment in the Czechoslovak Military came to be. First published by Indiana University Press in 2015, the book will be published in a Czech translation by Jan Hanzlík in 2021 by the National Film Archive. The idea for the book emerged during the years the author lived in the Czech Republic.Alice LovejoyIntroductionLiving with inner laughterDok.revue 2.20Kamila Boháčková