Documentary Mode Activity #2

While watching Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) I was impressed by the reflexive technique, I loved the way the filmmaker ‘deceived’ the audience and makes us “…question the power of the camera’s gaze to represent, and misrepresent, others” (Nichols, 195) I wanted to evoke a similar feeling by juxtaposing images with a narration that when watched together seem to be related but in reality they aren’t. What I was narrating wasn’t a personal experience as it may seem at first, I am reading from someone else’s experience and later in the film the source from which I read the introductory sentence is revealed.

Another way that I used to make the audience understand that the first statement wasn’t mine is by narrating a similar statement but this time juxtaposing the voice with the correspondent images.

My intention at first was to make a film that is more self-aware but then I decided to explore the performative mode and have part of it be a little autobiographical this happened when I started to narrate my thoughts of me being by the lake watching people take photographs. This mode was inspired by Agnes Varda’s film in which she narrates her thoughts as she interviews urban gleaners.

There is a “combination of the actual and the imagined” and as I narrate the story of the lake I try to do it in a satirical but sincere way. In that sense, the film is also performative because instead of addressing the audience factually, it does it in a more emotional way.

When I have a conversation with Luis I explore both, the reflexive and the participatory. The conversation was somewhat staged but completely unscripted and instead of just observing Luis eat his ‘pan de Muerto’ I decided to join him and interact with him appearing in front of the camera instead of staying behind.

My objective was to close the documentary by going back to a narration style and join all parts of the film by stating that, while photos capture the appearance of the dead, “el Dia de Los Muertos captures the Soul”

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