Being There: Travel Documentaries


  • Lucilla Lopriore



The growing success of TV travel documentaries lies in this unusual way of travelling and in the fully engaging experience that its multimodal dimension offers. Travel documentaries have the power of nullifying time and space, making Star Trekian fictional teleportation possible; they are a powerful way of closing the gap between the viewing audience and distant tourist destinations. Thanks to the wide diffusion of technology and social networks these types of documentaries are more accessible by everyone everywhere. Derived from documentary films, travel documentaries have developed their own genre with specific features and organisation: a genre used by the tourist industry to persuade the target audience or by TV channels to sell tourist products ranging from videos to travel tours. Documentaries offer both the logic of immediacy and that of hypermediacy typical of remediation since they heighten the viewer’s experience of the event as authentic. This contribution illustrates how in the last two decades changes in travel documentary visual format, organisation and use of new technologies have re-mediated both their language, their information structure and their impact on universal audiences.


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