East 50

Truth is the most Difficult Art


On a quest for a ‘pure’ gaze on the world, the Sensory Ethnography Laboratory at Harvard University has produced some of the most interesting documentaries in recent years.

The world we live in has been the subject of films since the very beginning, when the Lumière brothers filmed a train coming into the station at La Ciotat, in the South of France, in 1895, effectively making one of the very first documentary films (albeit one that was only 50 seconds long and consisted of a single shot). In the last decade or so, the documentary field has become increasingly diversified, with many acclaimed films using — perhaps somewhat surprisingly for the casual movie-goer — the methods of fiction to try and come closer to a kind of documentary truth.

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