Documentary Films, A Retro Wave of Comfort?

I read an article this week at – and wanted to do more than drop a mention and a tweet, however time was slim, as somehow this week’s been action packed.

Still, the thought lingered for more than a minute, so I was convinced it had me wanting to open it up for discussion. Why are documentaries somewhat hip now, where they used to make people cringe back in the days?  My thought was that not only are the stories more in depth, but visually because the gap has grown between how documentaries and mainstream films look – that the visual feel of these movies have that natural sort of comfort to it.

Films at home on DVD or in the theater are “sharp” these days.  Too sharp perhaps.  But VHS tapes with a slight decay to the visual sharpness were just as captivating too.  Film tries to look too refined, too real these days.  The art has perhaps transitioned from story line to presentation and technique.  But who’s really buying all this CGI “that” much more than handcrafted effects in the past (you could fit the blade runner city on your desk and it may look amateur now but did it affect the movie that much?  would it have been that different if they replaced that with a fully customized effect with a living population?). Has it changed the experience of the movie that much? If so, please chime in. Personally though one of the great things about documentaries is that it has a bit of a blur to it. Its not as sharp visually or audio-wise.  Plus the storylines are pretty good too these days.

PS: Warmth in these documentary images below was taken from the article pic, linked above and also in New York magazine, though I couldn’t find their version online. If so, I’ll link to that too.