While feature film has already become the subject of research for every type of receiver, documentary film is chiefly the subject of academic papers geared at a very narrow group. Mirosław Salski’s book not only fills that gap on the publishing market, but it also responds to the challenges that books face in the 21st century.
The author has prepared a comprehensive popular-science guide on documentary cinema – a work therefore encompassing more than a century of both, Polish and international documentary history.
Salski sends the potential reader a clear-cut message with the amusing, new-media and simultaneously traditionally-rooted title „Nanook in google” („Nanook w googlach“).
Limiting the search to solely legal sources, the book shapes a certain approach in the reader – one that strengthens appropriate behavior like respecting the rights of creators and using online services that popularize film culture – all this in spite of the chaotic management of copyrights and uncontrolled online piracy.
On 19.10.2016 during my time in Stettin where the Film Festival 2016 took place I had the opportunity to interview the former TV journalist, author of textbooks for journalism students, as well as completely non-academic books and currently teacher at the University of Szczecin.
Shortly before the bookreading I met Bartosz Wójcik, the organizer of the film festival. Since Salskis speech would be in polish language Mr. Wójcik was kind to sit next to me and to translate simultaneously faithfully each spoken word that came from Salskis mouth. At this point I want to express my gratefulness towards Mr. Mr. Wójcik and that he made it possible to arrange an interview with the author after the the event!
Mr. Salski, with your book „Noovak in Google“ you respond to the challenges that books face in the 21st century. According to which principles did you write this book?
The book is designed according to the principle of a museum guide. The incorporated QR codes allow the online visibility of documentary films. One could say that it is a documentary book about documentary films.
Which target group do you intend to reach?
Relating to the difficulty of the book my intention was to keep the content as easy and understandable as possible so that even a 14 years old could read it without any problems. Thereby the book is accessible for everybody and it is also reflected from different kinds of views. The book is predominantly directed to students.
I didn’t focus comparing polish and foreign books in terms of being good or bad. I tried to develop a general classification of great, famous works.
What is the difference between documentaries and feature films?
The difference is that documentaries display complex facts more specifically and detailed way. They show the reality of things while fiction movies follow the concept of storytelling: Reality is blurred, protagonists are invented and the story allures a huge audience. That’s also an answer to the question of what documentaries are actually allowed to do and what they are not. It needs some time to understand their function and you have to get used to them. (he laughs)
So you reduce feature films in their factuality?
I would not say it that way way but as we all know, documentaries are a bit missed out in our society. That’s a fact and the reason is very simple: they are challenging us, they don’t fit into the normal TV program. They’re not designed to reach a huge audience and that is why they are screened mostly late at night. Another strong argument is that documentaries bring not as quota as good money than blockbusters do. Today, fiction movies must entertain. That creates a kind of passivity, so that people afterwards do not reflect the content or the impact of what they are watching.
Does the book content autobiographical elements?
Not really, only that I chose the works I wanted to introduce by myself. The book serves solely academically and collegiate work. Therefore there will be no translation in any other languages, unfortunately! But I hope that young people will understand the importance of watching documentaries – if online- in a legal way.
By Evangelia Bouzmpa