Doc Talk is a bi-weekly column covering documentary film. It runs on Wednesdays.
When I began to favor non-fiction cinema a few years back, I had two major reasons for doing so. One, I simply stopped caring what happens to fictional ballerinas, dream architects and talking animals. And two, I realized that with documentaries, even if they're bad, I can usually learn something from them. But the more I study the format, and the more dubious, manipulative and one-sided docs I see (and 2010 brought many questionable works), the more I'm coming to the conclusion that non-fiction film isn't really to be trusted as eductional material.
As it happens, I'm actually liking documentaries even more now that I don't feel I'm learning anything -- though I am a lot less forgiving of the bad films as a result.