Catalogue


Documenting the documentary : close readings of documentary film and video /
edited by Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski.
imprint
Detroit : Wayne State University Press, c1998.
description
488 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0814326390 (pbk. : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Detroit : Wayne State University Press, c1998.
isbn
0814326390 (pbk. : alk. paper)
catalogue key
2231469
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 463-470) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-04:
The 1970s saw the first major wave of writing on documentary film: Erik Barnouw's Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film (1974) exemplified the initial emphasis on historical surveys; Bill Nichols's Ideology and the Image (CH, Mar'82) marked a shift to theoretical approaches. Now, joining William Rothman (Documentary Film Classics, 1997), Grant and Sloniowski turn their attention to individual documentaries. This rich collection of 27 varied essays by as many scholars provides close readings of 28 films. The contributors consider canonical films like Nanook of the North, Triumph of the Will, and Night and Fog, along with more recent films that challenge and extend definitions of the form--Bill Viola's I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like, Peter Watkins's The Journey, Billops and Hatch's Finding Christa. Many of the 20 original essays provide the first significant consideration in print of the films they confront; some of the seven reprinted essays--for example, Vivian Sobchack's on Las Hurdes and Robert Stam's on The Hour of the Furnaces--have become central statements in the discussion of these films. Many of the essays are conceptually rich; all are readable. This impressive collection, strongly recommended for students and scholars at all levels, is an important addition to scholarship on documentary film. K. S. Nolley; Willamette University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 1999
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Summaries
Main Description
Documenting the Documentary features essays by 27 film scholars from a wide range of critical and theoretical perspectives. Each essay focuses on one or two important documentaries, engaging in questions surrounding ethics, ideology, politics, power, race, gender, and representation-but always in terms of how they arise out of or are involved in the reading of specific documentaries as particular textual constructions. By closely reading documentaries as rich visual works, this anthology fills a void in the critical writing on documentaries, which tends to privilege production over aesthetic pleasure. As we increasingly perceive and comprehend the world through visual media, understanding the textual strategies by which individual documentaries are organized has become critically important. Documenting the Documentary offers clear, serious, and insightful analyses of documentary films, and is a welcome balance between theory and criticism, abstract conceptualization and concrete analysis.
Unpaid Annotation
Documenting the Documentary features essays by twenty-seven film scholars from a wide range of critical and theoretical perspectives. Each essay focuses on one or two important documentaries, engaging in questions surrounding ethics, ideology, politics, power, race, gender, and representation -- but always in terms of how they arise out of or are involved in the reading of specific documentaries as particular textual constructions.By closely reading documentaries as rich visual works, this anthology fills a void in the critical writing on documentaries, which tends to privilege production over aesthetic pleasure. As we perceive and comprehend the world through visual media increasingly, understanding the textual strategies by which individual documentaries are organized has become critically important.Together, the essays cover the significant developments in the history of the documentary, from the first commercially released feature, Nanook of the North (1922), to modern independent productions, such as An American Family (1973), Tongues Untied (1989), and Finding Christa (1991), and including important national and stylistic movements and various production contexts from the mainstream to the avant-garde. Seth Feldman places Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera (1929) within the context of constructivism and futurism; Vivian Sobchack discusses the strategies of Bunuel's Las Hurdas (Land without Bread, 1931) in relation to surrealism; and Joanne Hershfield explores Que viva Mexico! (1932) as the presentation of an "exotic" culture by a European director. Documenting the Documentary offers clear, serious, and insightful analyses of documentary films, and is a welcome balancebetween theory and criticism, abstract conceptualization and concrete analysis.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. 11
Prefacep. 15
Acknowledgmentsp. 17
Introductionp. 19
The Filmmaker as Hunter: Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the Northp. 23
"Peace between Man and Machine": Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camerap. 40
Paradise Regained: Sergei Eisenstein's Que viva Mexico! as Ethnographyp. 55
Synthetic Vision: The Dialectical Imperative of Luis Bunuel's Las Hurdesp. 70
The Art of National Projection: Basil Wright's Song of Ceylonp. 83
The Mass Psychology of Fascist Cinema: Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Willp. 99
American Documentary Finds Its Voice: Persuasion and Expression in The Plow That Broke the Plains and The Cityp. 119
"Men Cannot Act before the Camera in the Presence of Death": Joris Ivens's The Spanish Earthp. 136
The Poetics of Propaganda: Humphrey Jennings and Listen to Britainp. 154
"It Was an Atrocious Film": Georges Franju's Blood of the Beastsp. 171
The "Dialogic Imagination" of Jean Rouch: Covert Conversations in Les maitres fousp. 188
Documenting the Ineffable: Terror and Memory in Alain Resnais's Night and Fogp. 204
"Don't You Ever Just Watch?": American Cinema Verite and Dont Look Backp. 223
"Ethnography in the First Person": Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Folliesp. 238
The Two Avant-gardes: Solanas and Getino's The Hour of the Furnacesp. 254
Seeing with Experimental Eyes: Stan Brakhage's The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyesp. 269
"A Bastard Union of Several Forms": Style and Narrative in An American Familyp. 286
The Documentary of Displaced Persona: Michael Rubbo's Daisy: The Story of a Faceliftp. 302
Gender, Power, and a Cucumber: Satirizing Masculinity in This Is Spinal Tapp. 318
Documentary Film and the Discourse of Hysterical/Historical Narrative: Ross McElwee's Sherman's Marchp. 333
Subjectivity Lost and Found: Bill Viola's I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Likep. 344
The Filmmaker as Global Circumnavigator: Peter Watkins's The Journey and Media Critiquep. 360
Mirrors without Memories: Truth, History, and The Thin Blue Linep. 379
Documentaphobia and Mixed Modes: Michael Moore's Roger and Mep. 397
Silence and Its Opposite: Expressions of Race in Tongues Untiedp. 416
Containing Fire: Performance in Paris Is Burningp. 429
Contested Territory: Camille Billops and James Hatch's Finding Christap. 446
General Bibliographyp. 463
Sources for Films and Videosp. 469
Film and Video Distributorsp. 471
Contributorsp. 473
Indexp. 477
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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