RECORDS of DOCUMENTARY FILM SYMPOSIUM
held on May 3 - 9, 1997 in Jurmala, Latvia
European Documentary Film Symposiums Riga, 1999
DOCUMENTARY FILM. THE AGE GONE. AN AGE TO COME?
ROUND TABLE
Leonid
Gurevitch



















I should add: it is largely the aspect which the person shooting the film wants to reveal. For this is the basis of the subjectivity of documentary cinema. I realise, thank God, that the subjectivity of documentary cinema does not need to be proclaimed today. It seems to have become axiomatic. But what is the nature of this subjectivity? Some say, it is just what you choose to leave in the frame. I agree. But as far as the person filmed as a character is concerned, this depends primarily on which features of his you want to reveal, whether you view them as positive or negative ones. As a student I studied theoretical physics. Bohr’s postulate described by Leonid Kozlov involves one more point: the fact that the observer and observation change the behaviour of the object of observation is no proof that it makes it impossible for us to pass judgements upon the object. One should judge also taking into account what sort of changes this observation results in.

Take "Leshka’s Meadow", for example. Some people thought it incredible that cinematographers happened to be next to the telephone when they called from the prison to say that the character was ill. God is my witness, it was not a set-up. We hardly had time to connect to the line in another room, to be able to film this. It is much more essential, though, that Orlovsky the elder, having realised that he was an object of observation, changed his behaviour. It is absolutely obvious that he realised that the camera was of help to him. To him, his family and the situation. And the fact that he made use of this certainly characterises him in a certain way. Bohr’s complementarity effect appears, casting a different light on his nature, providing new opportunities of its interpretation.

So much as far as Bohr’s postulate is concerned. I registered this fact, for it does not rule out the necessity of filming people, on the contrary, it asserts the necessity to investigate people in non-fiction cinema, instead of shouting that we cannot get a document in this way. What is really of interest to me is the degree of deviation from reality. This deviation often occurs on the subconscious level: I ask particular questions which are of interest to me, another person would ask other questions. I choose for shooting the moment which another person would not have chosen. Finally, I provoke the situation enabling me to reveal what I want to be revealed. Subjectivity and once again - subjectivity.

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