Tricks of the trade: an examination of the confluences between documentary and deception, inspired by the symbiotic relationship between filmmaker and con artist in Forbidden lie$
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 22:22 by Anna Broinowski
This doctoral thesis combines Anna Broinowski's dramatised documentary feature, Forbidden lie$ (2007), with a scholarly exegesis examining the confluences between documentary filmmaking and deception. This critical writing has been inspired by the symbiotic relationship between "honest" filmmaker and "dishonest" subject in Broinowski's film. The written component, Tricks of the trade, presents a detailed examination of the ways in which the nonfiction "real" has been constructed and consumed over cinema's one hundred and twenty year history. In the process, parallels are revealed between the techniques used by documentary filmmakers and the techniques used by magicians, forgers, propagandists, con artists and other professional dissemblers, to deceive, seduce, entertain, persuade and "trick" their audiences or "marks". Tricks of the trade advances two propositions: 1, that deception is as necessary to documentary as it is to fiction; and, 2, despite this, documentary remains a valid and important art form. Documentary's ability to successfully engage audiences in the future, it is suggested, depends in part upon the acknowledgement (rather than concealment) of its deceptive techniques.