Films are categorized in different arenas, be it commercial or subjective but we find the sense of realism attached to making documentary movies as something that can be commonly referred to a credible situation or condition in a place, religion or community. Indeed, documentary film makers are no less than a hero. This is a script with detail about a particular subject but not that is far away from practicality. So it needs extensive study and analysis of the topic that surrounds it.
Documentaries are basically noncommercial projects whose main concern is to shed light on truth. A short film focusing the condition of socioeconomic topics like idle govt. projects like incomplete road infrastructure, erratic light and power supply, impact of corruptive practices amongst corporations, child marriage, etc. give a sense of shame and guilt and signify the dark moments which we accept to live.
Documentaries don’t always cover general issues but some also strike on sensitive topics that might relate to a particular community or a chain of events. Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s feature The Act of Killing (2012), and The Look of Silence (2014), investigate the aftermath of massacres in Indonesia.
These short movies are the result of conspicuous study of detail from notes, database and material that would try to impact on substantial theme of events. Likewise, they require both time and energy to complete. Marijn Poels – a progressive filmmaker, spent after eight years of travelling in the Austrian mountains to study the effect of globalization and climate politics on agriculture and its modern day perspective.
Sometimes some films are admonished that try reveal the dark secrets happening in a society, that are often shrouded by political correctness and they often face resistance from dogmatic govt. circles. One such mini series called Phantom India by the French filmmaker Louis Malle was banned in India that depicted a few Indian states in extreme penury and the condition of tribes in the Nilgiris and the caste system.
A documentary can become the voice of the oppressed and serve as a nation building tool. It can really expose mockery of the system giving a voice to the countless humans, animals and different oppressed beings. Undercover films by PETA about slaughterhouses is an eye opener that contradicts the meaning of The Humane Slaughter Act. Such secret films involve imminent danger to the documentary maker who risk their lives exposing a jeopardous event.
Documentaries also serve as a purpose to envisage inspiration in society by disclosing bitter practices that could still be practiced after seemingly total eradication. Although manual scavenging is totally banned in India, but Divya Bharathi’s self-funded film “Kakkoos” exposes the black practice in Tamil Nadu.
Making such strenuous moves to benefit the people, community and the country as a whole and expediting only social benefits out of persistent labor, a documentary film maker is indeed not less than a hero.