Documentary films can be exciting, delightful, sensitive, boring, informative, sensual, observant or journalistic – and occasionally they can even be entertaining or downright funny. The latter does not happen very often, though. Perhaps directors are afraid to betray the truth or reality by making it too amusing? Yet for a film to change things and open up the audience’s eyes to the world around them, the director has to take a critical look at his/her formal approaches as well. And in this context, humour is an excellent eye-opener.
We want to entertain. Laughing is good for you, and it’s healthy to poke fun at experts, the elite and the rich. It may not be quite as good for them in return, but it is healthy for us and for society. Especially if you remember to laugh at yourself once in a while.
Trying to resemble a fiction film is not an entertaining venture in itself. When the form of a film becomes so predictable that it irritates the audience and overshadows the content, the director will already be far removed from contributing any significant artistic expression and the film will lose its unique voice. And a unique voice is imperative for any film – because without it, the film is reduced to pop or mainstream culture.
My purpose in making a documentary is to stamp out nicety, eradicate the anxious desire to please and destroy opportunistic trendism. Open the floodgates to wildness, surrealism, subversion and satire! Because we seem to be afraid to make films that take a stand. Or make a mistake. Or are unpredictable or not recognisable right off the bat. Where are the films where ambiguity is not only a fog, but an artistic and perhaps even a humorous choice? We must run the risk of being wrong, of casting the first stone and of challenging preposterousness. And we should do this using a cinematic form that does not ingratiate and does not sugar-coat the issues to make them more palatable. Because then it becomes hypocritical and hollow. And because there’s nothing better than a documentary film that wises up during the process in a way we couldn’t have foreseen.
This is where docomedy enters the picture. This genre is specifically intended for documentary films dealing with and satirising various authorities and institutions of power – be they warmongering generals, sacrosanct priests of any religious persuasion, the smug world of advertising, incompetently implemented local policy, one’s own ridiculous superego, unscrupulous tabloid editors, manifesto-authoring film directors, and so on and so forth.
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