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Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

transformations of the documentary genre and explore the ways in which documentary has responded to these various challenges. These transformations have resulted in a range of new representational strategies that have consciously opened up spaces between the (assumed distinct) entities of ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’. In blurring these distinctions, the documentary has developed a range of styles that potentially challenge the very

in Faking it
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Mock-documentary and the subversion of factuality
Authors: Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

There are any number of fiction and non-fiction texts which challenge, articulate or reinterpret many of the central tensions within the documentary form. Of the non-fiction texts, the most significant have perhaps been reflexive documentaries. This book is primarily intended to introduce ideas about mock-documentary to students and academics working within media and documentary studies. It examines those fictional texts which to varying degrees 'look' (and sound) like documentaries. This group of texts have been labelled using a variety of terms; 'faux documentary', 'pseudo-documentary', 'mocumentary', 'cinéma vérité with a wink', 'cinéma un-vérité', 'black comedy presented as in-your-face documentary', 'spoof documentary' and 'quasi-documentary'. The book includes some discussion of the tensions within the genre, in particular where different codes and conventions appeal to competing, often contradictory, cultural understandings of how 'reality' can be represented. It looks to outline the nature of the more recent expansion of textual concerns and representational strategies employed by documentary filmmakers. Mock-documentary represents only one instance of a continuum of fictional texts which are characterised by a blurring of the line between fact and fiction. The book compares these contrasting screen forms, concentrating especially on the nature of the distinctive relationships which they each construct towards the documentary genre. It introduces a schema of three 'degrees' of mock-documentary, in part reflecting the diversity in the nature and extent of these texts' appropriation of documentary aesthetics. A speculative genealogy for the mock-documentary as a distinctive screen form is outlined.

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Mock-documentary and the subversion of factuality
Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

hyphen) for two reasons: because it suggests its origins in copying a pre-existing form, in an effort to construct (or more accurately, re-construct) a screen form with which the audience is assumed to be familiar because the other meaning of the word ‘mock’ (to subvert or ridicule by imitation) suggests something of this screen form’s parodic agenda towards the documentary genre. This

in Faking it
Film and television

Previous studies of screen performance have tended to fix upon star actors, directors, or programme makers, or they have concentrated upon particular training and acting styles. Moving outside of these confines, this book provides an interdisciplinary account of performance in film and television and examines a much neglected area in people's understanding of how popular genres and performance intersect on screen. The advent of star studies certainly challenged the traditional notion of the director as the single or most important creative force in a film. Genre theory emerged as an academic area in the 1960s and 1970s, partly as a reaction to the auteurism of the period and partly as a way of addressing popular cinematic forms. Television studies have also developed catalogues of genres, some specific to the medium and some that refer to familiar cinematic genres. The book describes certain acting patterns in the classic noirs Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Out of the Past and the neo-noirs Chinatown. British television drama in the 1970s had a special interest in the genre of horror. There is no film genre to which performance is as crucial as it is to the biopic. To explore comedy performance is to acknowledge that there is something that defines a performance as 'comic'. The book also examines drama-documentary, the western, science fiction, comedy performance in 'spoof news' programmes and the television 'sit com' and popular Bollywood films.

Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

documentary genre. Secondly, our approach draws upon the range of audience research traditions which have emerged particularly from the post-structuralist developments within sociological theory. 1 The essential common insight within post-structuralist approaches is that the meanings associated with any text are assumed to be generated through interaction with an audience (Philo, 1990 ; Ang, 1991 , 1996 ; Fiske, 1992 ; Jancovich

in Faking it
Situating the mock-documentary
Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

. We argue that part of the process of defining what mock-documentaries are by necessity involves identifying what they are not. Both drama-documentary and mock-documentary are fictional forms which seek to establish particular relationships with the documentary genre. Both are seen to blur the boundaries between fact and fiction, and both are seen as being (potentially) problematic for viewers who may be confused or

in Faking it
John Mundy and Glyn White

aspects of his work have caused opposition from authority figures, including politicians? Rockumentary / Mockumentary: This Is Spinal Tap (1984) Comedic parodies of the documentary genre, often called ‘mockumentaries’, are now an established format in film and television comedy (see Roscoe and Hight 2001 ; Hight 2010 ) in which

in Laughing matters
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Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

inhabit the space between the still potent public perception of a fact/fiction dichotomy. Mock-documentary is one of the more interesting and significant of these screen forms, in large part because it plays in the space ‘in-between’ and works to subvert the fundamental discourses that underpin the documentary genre. Documentary’s privileged status derives from a sense that documentary is distinct from fictional screen forms. Its

in Faking it
Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

by the ER staff. A male nurse is disappointed that the footage is intended for PBS rather than the network television, Dr Ross (George Clooney) tells Greene ‘you look like a star out there’, and there are references to Dr Welby (a predecessor to their own dramatic television series) and I Love Lucy . A muted commentary on the documentary genre is generated from the many moments of tension between the ER personnel and the

in Faking it
Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

In previous chapters we have looked to outline something of the wider context for the emergence of mock-documentary, and in particular to position the form in relation to the recent transformation of the documentary genre, and to other texts within the fact–fiction continuum (that is, drama-documentaries). Together with a brief discussion of factual discourse and the development of the documentary

in Faking it