Way of Genre in Cinema Documentary


The article attempts to survey the genres of documentary cinema, its vocabulary, the factors forming the key genre trends, their historic flexibility and modern issues as well as to analyze the basic problems of the screen document’s artistic structure, the dialectics of requirements for authenticity and expressiveness, the specific character of documentary imagery resulting in the polymorphy of its genre system.

Full Text

 Abstract: The aim of the article is to examine the peculiarities of the genre structure of cinema documentaries, its conceptual vocabulary, the factors that form the key genres in the documentary, their historical dynamics, and contemporary problems. At the same time, the root issues of the artistic structure of the screen document are analyzed, as well as the dialectic of the requirements for the authenticity and expressiveness of works of this kind of cinema, the specificity of the documentary image that determines the multiformity of the genre system of documentaries.

The category “genre”, which determines the structure and system of the expressive means of a piece of art, accompanies the history of arts for many centuries. Screen arts have developed their genre forms, coupled with an independent system of artistic expressiveness. Cinema documentary has its own genre structure, but until nowadays there have been delivered debates about the factors that influence the genre structure of this type of cinema. The author of the article offers his view on the existence of the genre in the artistic system of screen documentary, not supporting popular attempts to compose certain catalogues of genres. Actual practice breaks such speculative “catalogs”.

It is more productive to view the field of documentaries as broad directions: informational, live recording, essay, feature documentary, inside of which individual genre forms of movies are born, following the core laws of relations of the author and material inherent in this direction. The article points to the historical mobility of the content of accepted concepts in the theory of cinema documentary, as well as to the specifics of the structure of the documentary image and the discussion of externally axiomatic provisions of the aesthetics of documentary, such as “reliability”, “screen document”, “film chronicle”. The text also touches upon the actual issues of artistic expressiveness of contemporary Russian documentaries.


About the authors

Galina S Prozhiko


Author for correspondence.
Email: editor@vestnik-vgik.com

Doctor in Arts, Professor, Head of the workshop, Film Department

Russian Federation, Moscow


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