A Intro to The Imposter – Deceit and Cinematic Technique

We will now be looking at our second documentary ‘The Imposter (2012) Layton.

Before we get started let’s think about some of the key issues / conventions / debates that are arising from the film and from issues of spectatorship.

In class we will discuss these questions:

  • What documentary conventions is Layton using to tell this story?
  • What genre does Layton borrow conventions from in order to tell this story?
  • What is Layton’s agenda?
  • What is The Imposter a documentary about?
    • Is it about a missing child and a ‘whodunnit’ style mystery?
    • Is it a character study of a con artist?
  • How does Layton guide us to respond to Bourdain?

Here is a great video from Every Frame a Painting about The Imposter.

The video describes how the spectator is drawn into Bourdain’s deceit and how Layton uses cinematic techniques to deceive us. In particular, the video makes several excellent observations¬†about the set up of the interviews:

Here’s a great quote from *cough* wikipedia *cough* where the director Layton talks about his intentions for the audience/spectator response towards Bourdain:

“He invites sympathy. He has this childlike quality about him, and he can be very charming. And at other times he can be quite repellent, because he can be remorseless and you’re reminded about what he did. So as a filmmaker, I was asking, How can I find a way of getting the audience to experience a bit of that?”

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