Screen Studies
Imagining Reality

Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary

by Mark Cousins

Kevin Macdonald is the director of, inter alia, the acclaimed documentaries One Day in September (1999, Academy Award, Best Documentary) and Touching the Void (2003, BAFTA, Best British Film). In 2006 he completed his first dramatic feature film, The Last King of Scotland. He is also the author of a prize-winning biography of his grandfather, Emeric Pressburger: The Life and Death of a Screenwriter. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

Search for publications
and Kevin Macdonald

Mark Cousins is an author, broadcaster and documentary filmmaker. As director of the Edinburgh Film Festival he devised the Scene by Scene interview format which he later presented for the BBC and published as a book with Laurence King. His The Story of Film, was published in 2004. His most recent documentaries are On The Road With Kiarostami and Cinema Iran for Channel 4. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

Search for publications
Faber & Faber, 1996
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    9780571225149 (paperback)

    9780571343232 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
Imagining Reality
Collapse All Sections

In Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary, Oscar-winning documentary-maker Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September, Touching the Void) and leading broadcaster/historian Mark Cousins (The Story of Film) offer an expanded, revised edition of their ‘definitive, inspirational’ (Independent) compendium on the roots and history of the documentary film.

Imagining Reality takes the reader on a tour of the evolution of documentary film as an increasingly vibrant, polemical, experimental and entertaining form. It gathers a wide-ranging collection of writings by and about such groundbreaking documentary-makers as Vertov, Flaherty, Marcel Ophuls, Chris Marker, Kieslowski, Claude Lanzmann, and Nick Broomfield.

The story is carried up to date by attention to the success documentaries have had among mainstream movie audiences in recent years, including Michael Moore’s Bowling For Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, The Buena Vista Social Club, Spellbound, Capturing The Friedmans, Etre Et Avoir, and The Fog Of War.