The Thin Line

For the last semester we have been discussing the issue of truth, especially in documentary film.  Some have argued that there is no truth and everything that is presented in a documentary is subjective.  Others have argued that there is a truth, especially when it comes to events.

In 1988 Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris release his film THE THIN BLUE LINE, which was the story of a miscarriage of justice.  1 year later, Randall Adams, who was imprisoned for the murder of a Dallas police officer was released.  One of the stated reasons was that the documentary uncovered new details concerning the case.

THE THIN BLUE broke new ground for what documentary could be and do. 1) What documentary can BE – with Morris’ use of artistic and tasteful reenactments opened the door to the use use of acceptance of regular use of reenactments. 2) What documentary can DO – many argue that this film was a major force behind the reopening of the Randall Adams case and exoneration. While always present, the power of the documentary (the truth) was clearly seen in this case.

Discussion Starter:
Bellow are two links. The first is audio interview with Morris shortly after THE THIN BLUE LINE was released. Listen to both and then comment on your opinion of Morris’ view of truth, especially as seen in his documentary.

NPR Inteview with Errol Morris

The second is a short essay written and read by Errol Morris concerning his view of truth.

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