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1.
n.

In aspiring to open the imagination upon reality, Surrealism blurs the distinction between fact and fiction. In Surrealist documentaries the realistic effect is used to hook the viewer into the world represented by the film in order to disrupt taken-for-granted assumptions about that world. In Surrealist documentary, commentary is either absent, sparse or stripped of its dominance, becoming more of a dissonant or contrapuntal voice.
Examples of Surrealist Documentary:
- “Häxan” (English title: The Witches or Witchcraft Through The Ages) is a 1922 Swedish/Danish silent film written and directed by Benjamin Christensen. Based partly on Christensen's study of the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th century German guide for inquisitors, Häxan is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts.
- “Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan” (1933), (English language: Land Without Bread or Unpromised Land) is a 27-minute-long documentary film directed by Luis Buñuel and co-produced by Buñuel and Ramon Acin. The narration was written by Buñuel, Rafael Sanchez Ventura, and Pierre Unik, with cinematography by Eli Lotar. The film focuses on the Las Hurdes region of Spain, the mountainous area around the town La Alberca, and the intense poverty of its occupants. Buñuel, who made the film after reading the ethnographic study Las Jurdes: étude de géographie humaine (1927) by Maurice Legendre, took a Surrealist approach to the notion of the anthropological expedition. The result was a travelogue in which the narrator’s extreme (indeed, exaggerated) descriptions of human misery of Las Hurdes contrasts with his flat and uninterested manner.
- “F for Fake” (1974), an Orson Welles film documenting/embellishing/fabricating information about "fakery" in general and about the famous "fakers" Elmyr de Hory and Clifford Irving.
by Jrskow July 16, 2011
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