Description : Since the late 1960s, American film and video makers of all genres have been fascinated with themes of self and identity. Though the documentary form is most often used to capture the lives of others, Jim Lane turns his lens on those media makers who document their own lives and identities. He looks at the ways in which autobiographical documentaries—including Roger and Me, Sherman’s March, and Silverlake Life—raise weighty questions about American cultural life. What is the role of women in society? What does it mean to die from AIDS? How do race and class play out in our personal lives? What does it mean to be a member of a family? Examining the history, diversity, and theoretical underpinnings of this increasingly popular documentary form, Lane tracks a fundamental transformation of notions of both autobiography and documentary.
Description : American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary is a critical history of American filmmakers crucial to the development of ethnographic film and personal documentary. The Boston and Cambridge area is notable for nurturing these approaches to documentary film via institutions such as the MIT Film Section and the Film Study Center, the Carpenter Center and the Visual and Environmental Studies Department at Harvard. Scott MacDonald uses pragmatism’s focus on empirical experience as a basis for measuring the groundbreaking achievements of such influential filmmakers as John Marshall, Robert Gardner, Timothy Asch, Ed Pincus, Miriam Weinstein, Alfred Guzzetti, Ross McElwee, Robb Moss, Nina Davenport, Steve Ascher and Jeanne Jordan, Michel Negroponte, John Gianvito, Alexander Olch, Amie Siegel, Ilisa Barbash, and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. By exploring the cinematic, personal, and professional relationships between these accomplished filmmakers, MacDonald shows how a pioneering, engaged, and uniquely cosmopolitan approach to documentary developed over the past half century.
Description : This handbook brings together essays in the philosophy of film and motion pictures from authorities across the spectrum. It boasts contributions from philosophers and film theorists alike, with many essays employing pluralist approaches to this interdisciplinary subject. Core areas treated include film ontology, film structure, psychology, authorship, narrative, and viewer emotion. Emerging areas of interest, including virtual reality, video games, and nonfictional and autobiographical film also have dedicated chapters. Other areas of focus include the film medium’s intersection with contemporary social issues, film’s kinship to other art forms, and the influence of historically seminal schools of thought in the philosophy of film. Of emphasis in many of the essays is the relationship and overlap of analytic and continental perspectives in this subject.
Description : A volume of essays marking out a new, historically and culturally specific model for contemplating autobiographical non-fiction film and video.
Description : When a filmmaker makes a film with herself as a subject, she is already divided as both the subject matter of the film and the subject making the film. The two senses of the word are immediately in play – the matter and the maker—thus the two ways of being subjectified as both subject and object. Subjectivity finds its filmic expression, not surprisingly, in very personal ways, yet it is nonetheless shaped by and in relation to collective expressions of identity that can transform the cinema of 'me' into the cinema of 'we'. Leading scholars and practitioners of first-person film are brought together in this groundbreaking collection to consider the theoretical, ideological, and aesthetic challenges wrought by this form of filmmaking in its diverse cultural, geographical, and political contexts.
Description : From reality television to film, performance, and video art, autobiography is everywhere in today’s image-obsessed age. With contributions by both artists and scholars, Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography is a unique examination of visual autobiography’s involvement in the global cultural politics of health, disability, and the body. This provocative collection looks at images of selfhood and embodiment in a variety of media and with a particular focus on bodily identities and practices that challenge the norm: a pregnant man in cyberspace, a fat activist performance troupe, indigenous artists intervening in museums, transnational selves who connect disability to war, and many more. The chapters in Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography reflect several different theoretical approaches but share a common concern with the ways in which visual culture can generate resistance, critique, and creative interventions. With contributions that investigate digital media, installation art, graphic memoir, performance, film, reality television, photography, and video art, the collection offers a wide-ranging critical account of what is clearly becoming one of the most important issues in contemporary culture.
Description : MacDonald explores the cinematic territory between the traditional categories of "documentary" and "avant-garde" film, through candid, in-depth conversations with filmmakers whose work has challenged these categories. Arranged in an imaginative chronology and written to be accessible to any film-interested reader, the interviews in Avant-Doc chart half a century of thinking by inventive filmmakers such as Robert Gardner, Ed Pincus, Alfred Guzzetti, Ross McElwee, Leonard Retel Helmrich, Michael Glawogger, Susana de Sousa Dias, Jonathan Caouette, Pawel Wojtasik, and Todd Haynes. Recent breakthroughs by Amie Siegel, Jane Gillooly, Jennifer Proctor, Betzy Bromberg, and Godfrey Reggio are discussed; and considerable attention is paid to Harvard's innovative Sensory Ethnography Lab, producer of Sweetgrass, Leviathan, and Manakamana. A rare interview with pioneering scholar Annette Michelson begins Avant-Doc's meta-conversation.
Description : Why have certain kinds of documentary and non-narrative films emerged as the most interesting, exciting, and provocative movies made in the last twenty years? Ranging from the films of Ross McElwee (Bright Leaves) and Agn?s Varda (The Gleaners and I) to those of Abbas Kiarostami (Close Up) and Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), such films have intrigued viewers who at the same time have struggled to categorize them. Sometimes described as personal documentaries or diary films, these eclectic works are, rather, best understood as cinematic variations on the essay. So argues Tim Corrigan in this stimulating and necessary new book. Since Michel de Montaigne, essays have been seen as a lively literary category, and yet--despite the work of pioneers like Chris Marker--seldom discussed as a cinematic tradition. The Essay Film, offering a thoughtful account of the long rapport between literature and film as well as novel interpretations and theoretical models, provides the ideas that will change this.
Description : The documentary, a genre as old as cinema itself, has traditionally aspired to objectivity. Whether making ethnographic, propagandistic, or educational films, documentarians have pointed the camera outward, drawing as little attention to themselves as possible. In recent decades, however, a new kind of documentary has emerged in which the filmmaker has become the subject of the work. Whether chronicling family history, sexual identity, or a personal or social world, this new generation of nonfiction filmmakers has defiantly embraced autobiography.In The Subject of Documentary, Michael Renov focuses on how documentary filmmaking has become an important means for both examining and constructing selfhood. By looking at key figures in documentary filmmaking as well as noncanonical video art and avant-garde artists, Renov broadens the definition of what counts as documentary, and explores the intersection of the personal and political, considering how memory can create a way into asking troubling questions about identity, oppression, and resiliency.Offering historical context for the explosion of personal nonfiction filmmaking in the 1980s and 1990s, Renov analyzes films in which the subjectivity of the filmmaker is expressly defined in relation to political struggle or historical trauma, from Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool to Jonas Mekas's Lost, Lost, Lost. And, looking beyond the traditional documentary, Renov contemplates such nontraditional modes of autobiographical practice as the essay film, the video confession, and the personal Web page.Unique in its attention to diverse expressions of personal nonfiction filmmaking, The Subject of Documentary forges a new understanding of the heightened role and function of subjectivity in contemporary documentary practice.Michael Renov is professor of critical studies at the USC School of Cinema-Television. He is the editor of Theorizing Documentary and the coeditor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices (Minnesota, 1996) and Collecting Visible Evidence (Minnesota, 1999).