Monday, August 04, 2008

The Transom Review: Errol Morris's Topic

The Transom Review: Errol Morris's Topic



"My belief that believing is seeing and not the other way around. If there's enough pressure, if there's enough reason to believe something, then people will believe it, no matter what the underlying truth might be, no matter what the evidence against their believing it might be."
--Errol Morris



"THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STRAIGHT INTERVIEW. (Although I would admit there are good and bad interviews.)

Interviews are human relationships in a "laboratory" setting. They allow us to scrutinize the nature of how one person relates to another and vice versa... As such, all the things that are common features of the "ordinary" relationships appear in the interviews - deceit, coyness, misdirection, sincerity, honesty, dishonesty, confusion, etc.

In some instances - I dare say - there is the powerful impulse to protect a subject from himself or to show him in the best possible light. I have a lot of these kinds of impulses. I actually like people to look good, and I attempt - even if I don't succeed - to capture their complexity in the interview and in the film I eventually produce.

But let me provide a couple of definitions of a good interview.

A GOOD INTERVIEW CAPTURES THE COMPLEXITY OF THE SUBJECT.

and

A GOOD INTERVIEW CAPTURES THE COMPLEXITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE INTERVIEWER AND THE SUBJECT.

Sometimes it is a matter of "discretion," sometimes it is "let the best man win..." But, it's usually a lot more complex than that."

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