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Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival 2014


100 Best Docs of all time- Sight and Sound Poll

Round table discussion - with participation of David and Judith MacDougall and Neil Young 

Sight and Sound has conducted its all-time Top Ten polls since 1952, but it wasn't until 2014 that a separate survey for Best Documentary was conducted. 

Does this suggest that Documentaries are now somehow being taken more seriously as an art-form within cinema? Or is it simply a reaction against the fact that, in the "main" polls from 1952 to 2012, "the fictional impulse in film has reigned", as Nick Bradshaw put it in the magazine's introduction to the results.

Do these results present a valid snapshot of what we might call an accepted canon of documentary cinema? The poll also crystallised the ongoing debate regarding definitions of non-fiction cinema, with many voters including films which operate in the liminal spaces between documentary and fictional genres.

If there is no universally accepted definition of what makes documentary documentary, how is it possible to reach any kind of consensus on the most important and influential examples of the genre? What kind of criteria have been assumed by voters to make their own selection of 10 films?

>> Thalia Conference Room, Friday, 10 October 15:00 - 16:00