Performative non-fiction film and the future landscape of documentary filmmaking
McClintock, Madison Ally.
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American non-fiction filmmaking is currently experiencing a period of expansion. Today, the paradigm shift is focused on inquiries of form and function, with filmmakers pushing against the current boundaries of the genre. Historically, narrative and documentary have been thought of as distinct forms, but there are many films being produced today that fall somewhere in between. Films that are merging style and format from both fiction and non-fiction are referred to as hybrid documentaries or creative nonfiction. As part of this current trend, what I refer to as performative non-fiction is one subgenre that has evolved from the present desire to broaden the non-fiction film form. After identifying the defining characteristics of performative non-fiction films, I explore three case studies, 'The Act of Killing' (2012), 'Bombay Beach' (2011), and 'I'm Still Here' (2010), as well as my own film, 'A Decay of Control' (2015), to illustrate how their use of performance is changing the way information is conveyed in the documentary, representing one route of epistemological expansion of the medium.