about Representing Realities:



This web site explores some of the ways in which filmmakers have attempted to represent history, taking as its main texts Oliver Stone's JFK, John Blair's Anne Frank Remembered, and two films by Errol Morris. It questions the relationship between documentation and construction and looks at cinematic configurations of history as discourses about the Other. These pages also explore the differences between a historical reality (the Other) and a present one (the Self), and to what degree these are related.

All pages by Bryan Fox, May 1998.


Start with the introduction, or use the essay navigation menu below.

Original plain text version of the paper.



"Works of art are nothing but simple facts"

—Emile Zola



Anne Frank Remembered, John Blair, 1996.

Eternal Frame, Ant Farm Collective, 1976.

Images of the World and the Inscription of War, Harun Farocki, 1989.

JFK, Oliver Stone, 1992.

Mr. Death / Fred Leuchter (rough cut), Errol Morris, 1998.

Nanook of the North, Robert Flaherty, 1922.

The Thin Blue Line, Errol Morris, 1988.



Barnouw, Erik. Documentary / A History of the Non-fiction Film. New York and Oxford: 1993, p. 39-40.

Nichols, Bill. Blurred Boundaries. Indianapolis, 1994, pp. 1-16 and 117-147.

—. Representing Reality. (Especially "Pornography, Ethnography, and the Discourses of Power" by Christian Hansen, Catherine Needham, and Bill Nichols, pp. 201-228.) Indianapolis: 1991.

Russell, Catherine. Narrative Mortality / Death, Closure, and New Wave Cinemas. Minneapolis: 1995. esp. pp. 1-30.

Williams, Linda. "Mirrors Without Memories," Film Quarterly vol. 46, no. 3, Spring 1993, pp. 9-20.