Introduction to Documentary

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Indiana University Press, Nov 12, 2001 - Performing Arts - 248 pages
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Introduction to Documentary provides a one-of-a-kind overview of the most important topics and issues in documentary history and criticism. Designed for students in any field that makes use of visual evidence and persuasive strategies, from the law to anthropology, and from history to journalism, this book spells out the distinguishing qualities of documentary. A wide-ranging and freewheeling form of filmmaking, documentary has not yet received a proper, written introduction to its public, or its future makers.

Introduction to Documentary is not organized as a history of the form although its examples span a century of filmmaking. Instead, this book offers suggestive answers to basic issues that have stood at the center of all debate on documentary from its very beginnings to today. Each chapter takes up a distinct question from "How did documentary filmmaking get started?" to "Why are ethical issues central to documentary?" These questions move through issues of ethics, form, modes, voice, history and politics, among others. A final chapter addresses the question of how to write about documentary in a clear, convincing manner. Introduction to Documentary provides the foundational key to further explorations in this exceptionally vital area of filmmaking today.

 

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Contents

Why Are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Filmmaking?
1
How Do Documentaries Differ from Other Types of Film?
20
What Gives Documentary Films a Voice of Their Own?
42
What Are Documentaries About?
61
How Did Documentary Filmmaking Get Started?
80
What Types of Documentary Are There?
97
How Have Documentaries Addressed Social and Political Issues?
137
How Can We Write Effectively about Documentary?
166
Notes on Source Material
177
Filmography
189
List of Distributors
199
Index
217
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Bill Nichols holds the Fanny Knapp Allen Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Rochester where he is Professor of Art History/Visual and Cultural Studies in the Department of Art and Art History. He is an internationally recognized authority on documentary and ethnographic film. He has published on a wide-range of topics from cybernetics and visual culture to New Iranian Cinema. His anthology, Movies and Methods (1976),helped define the new discipline of film studies. A former President of the Society of Cinema Studies, his previous books include Representing Reality and Blurred Boundaries, both on issues in documentary film, and, as editor, Maya Deren: Radical Aspirations, on the postwar American avant-garde's most important figure.

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