in a house of prostitution: the film conveniently reaches a climax when the camera crew is finally thrown out of the door. In Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer ( 1993) Broomfield participates in the media circus surrounding Wuornos, a prostitute who was convicted of killing seven of her customers and was billed as the first female serial killer. Broomfield records his financial negotiations with her lawyer and adopted mother -- both of whom are primarily interested in the large fees they will receive. In the end Broomfield exposes the ways in which justice has been corrupted and Wuornos's case exploited by law enforcement officials eager to make money selling their stories to producers for potential TV movies.
Although Errol Morris does not appear in The Thin Blue Line ( 1988), the film-maker's presence is strongly felt throughout the film due to distinctive choices in lighting, editing, and music, and the introduction of scenes staged in a highly stylized fashion. This powerful documentary proves that an innocent man was wrongly convicted of killing a Dallas police officer, and eventually reveals the ways in which the state allowed itself to be easily fooled by the real killer, an appealing young teenager who went on to kill again. Morris invested much of the considerable cultural capital he gained from this film to revive and reframe the concept of film truth that had fallen in disrepute over the previous fifteen years: that truth is not guaranteed, but it is essential to seek. Likewise in Susana Mufioz 's and Lourdes Portillo's Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo ( 1985), the Argentine military claims that it is not responsible for the 'disappearance' of young students and political leftists; against such pretences, the army's participation in these murders emerges as a damning truth.
In this period, documentaries have developed in two divergent directions. While independent documentaries have flourished on the festival circuit and enjoyed critical attention, the vast majority are commissioned and underwritten by television stations which have tended to see them as programming units that must conform to their needs. In many cases the resulting series are international co-productions which have to satisfy the underlying ideological assumptions of several different governmentfunded/sponsored/controlled corporations, including their somewhat divergent articulated standards for objectivity. This was true, for example, with the twelve-episode Vietnam: A Television History (series producers: Richard Elli sion and Stanley Karnow, 1983), which was done as an international co-production with WGBH in the USA, Central Independent Television in Great Britain, and Antenne-2 in France. Perceptions of the war tended to be quite different in these three nations. More generally, television executives want to build audience loyalty to specific programming slots by maintaining a consistent tone or look from programme to programme and season to season. Documentary has always had to accommodate to the demands of its sponsors. More and more its survival as a valid form depends on finding sponsors who respect its right, and duty, to seek truth first and make accommodations second.
Barnouw, Erik ( 1974), Documentary: A History of the Nonfiction Film.
Ellis, Jack ( 1989), The Documentary Idea: A Critical History of EnglishLanguage Documentary Film and Video.
Hockings, Paul (ed.) ( 1975), Principles of Visual Anthropology.
Mamber, Stephen ( 1974). Cinema Verite in America.
Nichols, Bill ( 1980), Newsreel: Documentary Filmmaking on the American Left.
Rosenthal, Alan ( 1980). The New Documentary in Action.
Solanas, Fernando, and Getino, Octavio ( 1969). Towards a Third Cinema'.
Stoller, Paul ( 1992), The Cinmatic Griot. The Ethnography of Jean Rouch.
A. L. REES
European avant-garde film was reborn surprisingly soon after the war, from the 1950s, with the provocative neoDada of Fluxus, Lettrisme, and Action-Art. As in the original Cabaret Voltaire, and for similar reasons, mockery and excess were weapons of social and cultural protest. But film as an aspect of 'bomb culture' was often defiantly marginal, even after the aptly named Underground surfaced to public view in the 1960s. Only one film by the Situationist Guy Debord has been shown in Britain, for example, at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in 1952.
Even by then, the lead had passed to the USA, as it had with painting when New York replaced Paris as the cultural capital of modernism. As Abstract Expressionism triumphed in the 1940s, new waves of experimental filmmakers began to explore film as a fine art. More positive than the Europeans about their shared Dada-Surrealist heritage, the Americans wanted to make art, not abolish it. Their hallmark was personal vision, the basis both of