The text discusses visual anthropology, i.e. ethnographic film, considering its position within anthropological science and its specificities as a subtype of documentary film. It gives a historical overview of visual anthropology from its beginnings, emphasizing its relationship with the dominantly textual anthropological practice. The stumbling block in the relationship between anthropology as science and film as art is only the understanding of reality. The classical scientific approach understands the exploration of the assumed existing reality, whereas film is understood as a medium with a possibility to record and save data on visible cultural elements. On the other hand, art understands reality creatively, it processes it aesthetically, film being the fruit of this form of creation. Recently, it has been widely accepted that any form of communication, ethnographical film included, understands representation. Thus, the anthropological value is evident in all symbolic systems, which are necessarily culturally preconditioned. In this sense, anthropological film can be understood as a visual cultural product and not only a record of visible manifestations of culture presented in it. This fact resulted in a new understanding of ethnographical film which drew away from the traditional exposition mode and illusions of objectivity towards artistic, aesthetically aware forms of cultural presentation.