The Belgian fiction movie “C’est arrivé près de chez vous” pretends to be (and looks like) a documentary about Ben, a serial killer; one of the consequences of this stylistic choice is that the movie asks the spectator to believe that the murders on screen could actually be real ones, involving real people in the outside world. Can a spectator believe such a cinematic statement? In other words, can a fiction movie really look like a documentary and present itself as a non-fiction movie? And on the other side, can a non-fiction movie show outrageous realities and be believed? What are the cinematic boundaries of the believable? Starting from Alexandra Juhasz’s definition of fake documentaries and from Allan Casebier’s phenomenology of film, I consider how fake documentaries pose some questions about the spectator’s perception of a reality through the cinematic medium and how they shake the norms that constitute our horizons, forcing us to enjoy a different perspective on a topic.
|Keywords:||Documentary, Film Phenomenology, Cognitivism, Man Bites Dog, Fake documentaries|
PhD Candidate/Lecturer, Department of Italian Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada