Interactive Mode

Jean Xavier de Lestrade claims that in documentary “We never film reality as it is. We film reality with us in it. And we become actors in the film. We alter the story we film, inevitably”. It is perhaps through realisations such as this that allowed the generation of the interactive mode. Here the camera man displays their own input, not through the use of a voice over in the editing process, but as the events occur. This perhaps begins to present the audience with the idea that the reality they are viewing is that of the experience of the camera man
In this way it can be argued that the interactive mode presents an authentic documentation of reality as the thoughts expressed, and the commentary delivered are true to that of the film maker themselves. This contrasts against the open ended, ambiguous interpretation of reality that the observational mode presents to the audience through the detachment of the camera man. The interactive mode also allows personal contact with the subjects of the documentary.


Living with Michael Jackson is one of the most established examples of the interactive modes in which Martin Bashir interviews Jackson over a period of several months, thus enabling his own perspective of reality to be displayed.

The encounter between film-maker and subject is recorded, as the film-maker actively engages with the situation they are documenting, asking questions of their subjects, sharing experiences with them. Heavily reliant on the honesty of witnesses
Welcomes direct engagement between filmmaker and subject(s) – the filmmaker becomes part of the events being recorded. The film maker’s impact on the events being recorded is acknowledged, indeed, it is often celebrated.

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