Australian Left Review

Article Title

A Man's World


Martha Ansara


Dennis O'Rourke's remarkable achievement with his documentary fiction, The Good Woman of Bangkok, is a challenge to the present state of documentary filmmaking. Its exploratory ana subjective treatment of third world prostitution contrasts vividly with the moralising, thesisdriven approach of so many of today's social documentaries . In making it, O'Rourke has deliberately renounced the overdetermined way of working in which you first do your 'objective' research, then piece together your 'objective' film—rarely stopping to consider what ideological preconceptions and unconscious projections you impose upon the material in order to fulfil your thesis. Given the way most social documentaries are made, it seems quite incredible that they still present themselves, and are generally perceived by their audiences, as virtually unmediated representations of reality.



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