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(From Guardian Unlimited)
'Cinema is truth 24 frames per second' - Jean-Luc Godard
Some years ago I was on a jury at a documentary film festival. After we had awarded the prize to a film about a Dutch family who collected foetuses in bottles, we were told that the project was a hoax and that everything was staged. It was, therefore, disqualified. Yet the fact that the genre was changed from fact to fiction did not affect the quality of the film.
In fact, there has always been "cheating" in documentaries. The first film shown to the public on 13 February 1895, Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory, by the Lumiere brothers, was obviously staged because none of the workers looks at the camera or walks …