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Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

This chapter will outline the framework which we use to differentiate mock-documentary texts from each other, and which forms the basis of the discussions contained within the following chapters. Our approach essentially involves identifying three main ‘degrees’ of ‘mock-docness’ within the texts we have analysed, degrees which are derived especially from the type of relationship which a text

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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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
Situating the mock-documentary
Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

In the previous chapters, the discussion focused on developments within the continuum of factual texts which provide part of the wider context for the emergence of mock-documentary. In this chapter the intention is to position the mock-documentary form in relation to one of the fictional forms which similarly works to complicate any apparent divisions between fact and fiction

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

. This group of texts have been labelled using a variety of terms; ‘faux documentary’ (Francke, 1996 ), ‘pseudo-documentary’, ‘mocumentary’, ‘cinéma vérité with a wink’ (Harrington, 1994 ), ‘cinéma un-vérité’ (Ansen, 1997 ), ‘black comedy presented as in-your-face documentary’, ‘spoof documentary’ and ‘quasi-documentary’ (Neale and Krutnik, 1990 ). We favour the term ‘mock-documentary’ (including 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
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Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

The mock-documentaries discussed in this chapter are those which we have tentatively labelled as degree 1 examples of the mock-documentary form. These are texts which collectively demonstrate a specific use of factual aesthetics, and consequently encourage a particular reading from their audiences. They make obvious their ‘fictionality’, using documentary codes and conventions in some form in order

in Faking it
Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

Mock-documentary is a ‘fact-fictional’ form which has a close relationship to both drama and documentary. It not only uses documentary codes and conventions but constructs a particular relationship with the discourse of factuality. This chapter outlines some of the key issues for our analysis and discussion of this relationship which mock-documentary texts build with documentary and factuality

in Faking it
Jane Roscoe and Craig Hight

Like degree 1 mock-documentaries, examples of the form which we categorise as degree 2 explicitly highlight their own fictionality, but generally do so in order to ask their audience to reflect upon the validity of the cultural or political position of their subjects. These texts tend to be characterised by an ‘ambivalent’ appropriation of documentary codes and conventions: appropriating documentary

in Faking it
John Izod, Karl Magee, Kathryn Hannan, and Isabelle Gourdin-Sangouard

Anderson’s final film, simultaneously an on-screen essay and a mock-documentary self-portrait, was commissioned for television by BBC Scotland. It was one in a series ‘The Director’s Place’ in which six film-makers were given complete freedom with their subject: the way they lived and worked. Anderson’s film commences covering a supposedly typical day in his life. Starting with his waking moments, a

in Lindsay Anderson