Sometimes, using special developers, depending on the film. The results are usually still pretty contrasty, but they are usable and are very good for some subjects. (These films usually have a more uniform grain size and are built especially for very high contrast. A low contrast developer will get what it can out of them, but the film just isn't made to respond with even gradation to a wide range of light values.) The special developers are low contrast types, often called document film developers. Some examples are shown above. Most microfilms and some litho films work reasonably well with these, but you will have to experiment to find out and to get the right exposure and development combination. A couple more developer examples:
Sodium sulfite 25 g
Phenidone 1.4 g
Borax (decahydrate) 2 g
Benzotriazole 0.2% 15 ml
Substitute sodium metaborate for borax to get higher speed and contrast.
Benzotriazole may not be active at low pH and could be eliminated. Potassium
bromide or iodide might also be substituted.
LC-1B low contrast developer:
Distilled water (125F) 750 ml
Metol 4 g
Sodium sulfite 80 g
Hydroquinone 4 g
Sodium bisulfite 20 g
Distilled water to make 1 l
This variation was designed for Arista APH film for both interpositives and negatives. It is similar to LC-1 diluted 2:3:5, but with more sulfite and bisulfite. Dilute between 1:5 and 1:10. Develop 5 to 10 minutes at 75F.
Ref: Siegel, J, “Post-Factory Photography Journal”
James, C, “The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes”