Een demontage van observationele documentaire in België

Translated title of the thesis: A Dismantling of Observational Documentary Film in Belgium

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This explorative and qualitative research will focus on observational documentary film of the last decades. Therefore, an analyse of theoretical concepts will be combined with expert interviews with documentary-makers in Belgium and a profound viewing of relevant films. These films are been characterised by a specific working method where the subject of the film is beeing followed by a camera(crew) without direct comments nor explications from the maker to the viewer. Although this observational style already dates from 1960, there has been few recent research on contemporary documentary films, where the evolutions in cultural and critical theories are taken into account. This study will therefore dismantle the observational documentary film by looking for the weaknesses that are imbedded in theory and practice. This requires a clear view on what the observational documentary is and how it has evolved over the years. By doing so, a lot of theoretical concepts concerning documentary film in general, will be analysed. This examination will help us to further dismantle the genre in a second stage, where critiques on the evidential status of documentary film on one hand, and specific production conditions of the film on the other hand will be discussed. At the end of the dissertation, we can give a clearer view on what observational documentary film is today and what there place is and can be in our actual audiovisual media landscape.
Date of Award27 Jul 2012
Original languageDutch
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
SupervisorLuc Deneulin (Promotor)


  • Documentary film
  • Qualitative Research
  • Belgium
  • ethnographic film
  • direct cinema
  • cinéma vérité

Cite this