Interactivity as a key feature redefining documentary reality
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interactive audio-visual media
interactive documentary
web documentary
virtual reality

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Dubois, F. (2018). Interactivity as a key feature redefining documentary reality. Images. The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication, 21(30), 31–44.


Finding a clear-cut boundary delimiting fiction from documentary has always been a controversial, daunting and unthankful undertaking. In the last decade, the blur between the two genres has been reinforced by the rapid advancement of web and AR/VR technologies. Interactive web-documentaries and virtual reality documentaries do not only promote new viewing habits – from swiping smartphone screens to scanning horizons with VR headsets, they shake up the very idea of what a documentary is. In this short scholarly essay, I argue that the feature of interactivity is the driving force redefining the documentary genre. This thesis builds on two case studies: 1) Interactive documentary Atterwasch and 2) VR documentary The Unknown Photographer. In the final section of the essay I revisit the definition of documentary reality and expand it with the addition of André Bazin’s notion of mise en scène.
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