The Rider documentary MIFF

Can there ever be a truly “truthful” cinema? On the face of it, documentary is assumed to occupy the “non-fiction” category suggested by the fiction of narrative films, but even the sparsest, most naturalistic documentary is inevitably “written” in the edit.

The very act of filming something immediately imposes narrative and thematic implications on the footage, something skewered to perfection by artist John Smith’s 1976 film work, The Girl Chewing Gum, in which Smith’s retrospectively recorded voiceover “directs” footage of a Hackney intersection. Asif Kapadia’s mesmerising Senna (2011) is comprised solely of archival footage and interviews, yet features a “written by” credit for Manish Pandey.