Now that 'Catfish' is about to open (on 12 screens today), the general public is finally gaining access to the complete trio of films being lumped together and labeled across the media as a trend of "questionable documentaries," "elusive docs," "quasinonfiction" or whatever other term can be used to describe documentary works with an uncertain degree of authenticity or truthfulness. This latest, added to 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' and 'I'm Still Here,' apparently makes 2010 the year of the dubious doc.

The problem for me is that, although I do see a common ground with these films, I feel the need to remind everyone that the history of documentary has been the history of fakery, trickery, manipulation and general blurring of reality and fiction. The beginnings of cinema, most of the first films from Thomas Edison, the Lumiere brothers, Georges Melies and other lesser-known names were qualifiably non-fiction but in many parts involved staging, performed lives and, in Melies' more honest advertisements, "reconstitution."
categories Cinematical