Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blurring the Line- Part II

I originally made this post in January of this year. This time I address the issue from the narrative filmmaking side. It was originally titled "Blurring the Line Between Fiction and Non-Fiction."

We all know that a lot of "reality" TV is largely scripted.  And I've spoken before about documentary filmmakers (Herzog, Morris) taking liberties with factual truths in their own obsessive searches for more poetic Truth.  But what about narrative filmmaking that blends non-fiction/documentary aspects?

I recently made my way through two TV series produced by Section 8 (George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh), Unscripted and K Street.  Both were limited run, one-offs for HBO, K Street directed by Soderbergh and Unscripted directed by Clooney and Grant Heslov.  They are similar in their blending of real people (James Carville, Mary Matalin, Krista Allen, Bryan Greenberg, lots of famous politicians and actors), using real events mixed with fictitious characters and storylines to give authentic experiences of certain aspects of Hollywood and Washington D.C.  I have to admit that I was quite skeptical when I started watching them but found them both engaging and wanted more when I reached the last episodes.  The cinematography in both is, well, what I will call Soderberghian (if you've seen The Girlfriend Experience or Bubble, you'll know what I'm talking about).  That is to say, they were shot with almost only available light and almost taunting you with their homeliness at times (particularly in K Street).  They were both shot primarily by Tom Inskeep.

They are interesting variations on Soderbergh using "real" people to play fictitious characters (Bubble).  For Unscripted, there was no written dialogue, it was largely improvised from incidents in the actors' lives.  Each episode of K Street was based on a breaking news story and shot within days of airing on HBO.  I'd like to do a little deeper analysis at some point, but for now wanted to point out these interesting experiments.  They are all worth a watch and available on Netflix: Bubble, K Street, Unscripted.

No comments: