1.Interior/day/a Tel-Aviv café
With a cell phone ringing in the background (“Pulp Fiction” ring tone?) a woman’s hand is seen picking up the phone and holding it to her ear.
A manly voice:
“Hey, babe. Fancy going to the new Michael Moore?”
The success of documentary cinema in recent years is unprecedented. Commercial screens everywhere have realized the lure of the documentary film and no longer hesitate to screen one. This does not suggest that the genre challenges Hollywood’s mainstream – most documentaries are still screened in small, repertory cinemas – yet no one can deny that Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine were box-office hits in the US and later in many other western countries as well. Fahrenheit was exceptional in winning the prestigious Palm d’Or award at Cannes (associated with quality fiction) with the aid of Quentin Tarantino who served as chairman of the jury. 2004 witnessed another Cinderella, Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me – a box office hit that left big-studio bosses sleepless. These films have not just won financial success (and to some degree critical acclaim as well) but they became cultural media events that generated social and political public debates.
Moreover, new documentary film festivals are springing up everywhere and traditional ones flourishing and registering record attendance and revenues. No doubt, in the 21st century, documentary cinema is very much “in” and the hopeless stigma that a documentary cannot be exciting and accessible has finally been stamped out. So documentaries have never had it so good. Or have they?