Young is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Two highlights of Doclisboa 2018 were documentaries from an often-overlooked category – the mid-length film.
Country: France 2018, 48 minutes / Serbia, Germany 2018, 49 minutes

Despite well-chronicled advances in the current century, documentary cinema unfortunately still continues to lag behind its fictional counterpart in terms of international exposure and renown. Latest evidence: an international poll of respected critics conducted by BBC Culture this October resulted in a list of the top 100 films made in languages other than English. Astonishingly, only two documentaries made the cut: Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) at #73 and the late Claude Lanzmann’s nine-and-a-half hour Shoah (1985), which narrowly scraped in at #96. At the opposite end of the duration scale, shorts fared even worse: Chris Marker’s 28-minute La Jetée (1962) was the sole representative, a lowly #86.

Long overlooked

These results bring up wider issues: shorts and documentaries seldom obtain the exposure they deserve and need, this neglect doubly compounded in the case of short documentaries. When it comes to non-fiction works of intermediate or medium length the situation is even more grim. Such productions, which don’t fit the narrow requirements of television channels or theatrical distribution networks, have minimal commercial potential, and they very often struggle to find suitable berths even on the film-festival . . .

Dear reader. To continue reading, please create your free account with your email,
or login if you have registered already. (click forgotten password, if not in an email from us).
A subscription is only 9€ 🙂