Since film's inception—from the Lumière's early actualités to Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North—the boundary between documentary and fiction film has been fairly fluid (or not even a term of discussion.) And as Jacques Rivette once observed: "Every film is a documentary of its own making." Thanks in part to the relative ease and low cost of digital filmmaking tools, directors from a variety of backgrounds have more leeway to explore and expand the definition of documentary, incorporating fictional or fictionalized elements into nonfiction works. Now in its third year, the Film Society of Lincoln Center's series The Art of the Real offers a showcase for such films, and offers a variety of documentaries, hybrid documentaries, experimental films, and narrative films in a nonfiction context. Co-programmed by Dennis Lim, director of programming at Film Society, and Rachael Rakes, a programmer at large at Film Society, this year's program includes films culled from festivals from around the world: Ben Rivers’s What Means Something, Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead, Brett Story’s The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, Sergio Oksman’s O Futebol, Ju Anqi’s Poet on a Business Trip, Andrés Duque’s Oleg and the Rare Arts, Roberto Minervini’s The Other Side, Im Heung-soon, Factory Complex, Thom Anderson’s The Thoughts That Once We Had, and Hassen Ferhani’s A Roundabout in My Head, to name a few. FILM COMMENT Digital Editor Violet Lucca was joined by Lim and Rakes, as well as Eric Hynes, FILM COMMENT columnist and associate director of programming at the Museum of the Moving Image, to discuss the motivations behind the series, and the films themselves.

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Published by the Film Society of Lincoln Center since 1962, Film Comment is a bimonthly magazine and daily website that features in-depth reviews, critical analysis, and feature coverage of mainstream, art-house, and avant-garde filmmaking from around the world.