Documentary “Modes”

Documentaries have broadly been categorized into these 6 “modes”:

  • Poetic: Creates a feeling. Abstract and artistic.
  • Expository: The aim is to inform or persuade. Heavily researched.
  • Observational: What it sounds like. Supposedly objective. Cinéma vérité.
  • Participatory: Inclusion of the filmmaker.
  • Reflexive: Filmmaker analyzes self. The fact that it is a documentary film is understand and analyzed within the film.
  • Performative: Michael Moore style. Similar to participatory in that the filmmaker is present but the filmmaker comes to a subjective truth not an objective one.