Show and Tell: The Identification of Documentary Film

  • Vitor Moura


This chapter explores the elusive frontier between fiction and nonfiction film. In particular, it compares and assesses the distinct and most relevant theories that have been proposed in order to establish criteria that would allow the spectator to distinguish between fiction film and documentaries. After considering other candidates, attention is focused on the two most promising attempts: the Realist Approach and the Relational View. Both theories are dialectically juxtaposed, meaning that after considering their respective merits and flaws, the reader is suggested several ways in which both theories could be taken as mutually complementary in the way they draw attention to different, but equally important (or at least with balancing degrees of importance), dimensions of the documentary, an exercise of show and tell.


Fiction and nonfiction Documentary Realism Relational approach Analytic 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vitor Moura
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade do MinhoBragaPortugal

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