The Film : Embassy Siege, A Bbc2 Documentary Reported By Peter Taylor

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Documentaries use diverse tools to make their subject matter accessible for the audiences, as well as they can while still staying true to their reportage. One of these methods is dramatisation, or re-enactment, where historical events are replicated on the camera for different purposes. This essay will discuss this blend between fact and fiction in the context of SAS – Embassy Siege, a BBC2 documentary reported by Peter Taylor (2002). The actual events took place 22 years earlier, in 1980, when six armed men went to the Iranian Embassy in London and took 26 hostages. The documentary is constructed from the contemporary news footages as well as current interviews of the people involved in the multiple sides of this event. The essay will…show more content…
Besides colour SAS – Embassy Siege slows down the dramatised footage from time to time. These techniques give the dramatised scenes a cinematic feel when paired with the straightforward news footage featured in the documentary. In couple occasions the documentary anchors the fictional footage by presenting it at the same time with something factual, like showing footage of the 1980 Wolrd Snooper Championships, which the SAS men claim to have been watching in the lead-up to their attack. The documentary also employs stock footage from around London, to fill in the narration. These snippets of trees and the busy streets of London cross the threshold between fact and fiction by being real but still constructed. This footage is treated the same way as the dramatised scenes, with coloured filters and temporal changes, a good example of this being timelapses. There is also the matter of juxtaposing these dramatisations with interviews or the narrator telling about the events, adding another layer of factual information into the reconstructed. This interplay between what is real and what is constructed is clearly thrown around, and the lines between reality and fiction get blurry.

In his article David McQueen talks about the juxtaposition of factual and fictional images in

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