Tim Robbins' Bob Roberts is a mockumentary that exemplifies the way which direct cinema is used to parallel journalism.

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Bob Roberts: comparable aspirations of direct cinema and journalism

Direct cinema can take the film documentary form of journalism in many ways. Tim Robbins' Bob Roberts is a mockumentary that exemplifies the way which direct cinema is used to parallel photo or film journalism, and can often be used to unearth the truth.

Direct cinema is a style of documentary filmmaking which came about as a response to cinema verite, a style which the filmmaker's presence is known. Direct cinema seeks to portray reality as it is, therefore uses long-duration shots, minimal camera movement, and rejects the use of scripting, voice-overs, re-enactments and re-creations. Direct cinema is often called observational cinema, because the filmmaker does not impose upon film subjects or audiences, but merely records filmed reality in an open-ended manner. This technique of documentation seeks to chronicle events without interfering.

Direct cinema style of film documentation is comparable to the goals of journalism, and can be seen as a form of journalism.

Both are representations of reality, or real-life drama, and seek for the truth to emerge. However documentaries can visually record the movement of images and enhance the perception of truth, making it more intimate, compelling and confrontational than print journalism. Ideally, both the filmmaker and journalist also try to be unobtrusive and impartial when documenting events, taking the role of an invisible witness and letting the truth materialize by itself.

Direct cinema documentary style and journalism also both deal with the issue of ethics in many areas. Both may easily intrude upon people's lives and it is difficult to draw the border between documenting the truth and invasion of privacy. It is also sometimes difficult for the filmmaker and journalist to obtain the goal of presenting pure reality and being completely neutral. Even when a story...