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Docufiction tropes and historical truth claims

by Critical Commons Manager

The closing title sequence of Ben Affleck's Academy Award-winning docufiction Argo displays what are presumably real historical images alongside their fictional recreations taken from the film. This increasingly common trope serves to demonstrate the surface resemblance between fact and fiction, especially when paired with a voice-over commentary by then President Carter, talking about the events of the film. Earlier in the film, an equally common trope is also deployed, in which historical news footage reporting on the events of the film are intercut with characters from the film who appear to be watching it. But what effect do these heavy-handed, retrospective cliches really demonstrate? Accuracy of set design, wardrobe and makeup? Hair styles and era-appropriate glasses frames? Facility with licensing archival footage? Should such factors really be taken as evidence in support of the film's larger truth claim?

Argo end credits documentary moment

The closing credit sequence of Argo deploys the docudrama convention of juxtaposing historical and fictional images to demonstrate the film's veracity

from Argo (2012)
Creator: Ben Affleck
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Posted by Critical Commons Manager
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