I guess most people agree that any kind of documentary is also some kind of storytelling. So I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to the notion of the “objective” documentary film, which many people still insist is actually possible.

Going back to Nanook Of The North (Flaherty, 1922), the documentary has never been an objective representation of “truth”. Two obvious questions arise. Is such a thing possible? And would that really be the aesthetic, social, and political ideal for a documentary film?

In recent years, debates about the Michael Moore and Al Gore films have highlighted this issue. For Norwegian readers, here’s a recent piece by a colleague of mine, regarding a conflict between a documentary filmmaker and the NRK network. I’m fond of the professor’s focus on the difference between “documentary” and “documentation”.