The Documentary Film Reader: History, Theory, Criticism

Paperback | February 3, 2016

EditorJonathan Kahana

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Bringing together an expansive range of writing by scholars, critics, historians, and filmmakers, The Documentary Film Reader presents an international perspective on the most significant developments and debates from several decades of critical writing about documentary. Each of the book'sseven sections covers a distinct period in the history of documentary, collecting both contemporary and retrospective views of filmmaking in the era. And each section is prefaced by an introductory essay that explains its design and provides critical context. Painstakingly selected from the archivesof more than a hundred years of cinema practice and theory, the essays, reviews, interviews, manifestos, and ephemera gathered in this volume suit the needs and interests of the beginning student, the advanced scholar, the casual reader, and the working documentarian.

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Bringing together an expansive range of writing by scholars, critics, historians, and filmmakers, The Documentary Film Reader presents an international perspective on the most significant developments and debates from several decades of critical writing about documentary. Each of the book'sseven sections covers a distinct period in the...

Jonathan Kahana is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Intelligence Work: The Politics of American Documentary.

other books by Jonathan Kahana

Format:PaperbackDimensions:1056 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.68 inPublished:February 3, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019973965X

ISBN - 13:9780199739653

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Table of Contents

Charles Musser: ForewordIntroductionI. Early Documentary: From the Illustrated Lecture to the Factual FilmJonathan Kahana: Introduction to Section IRick Altman: "From Lecturer's Prop to Industrial Product: The Early History of Travel Films" (2006)Anonymous: "Burton Holmes Pleases a Large Audience at the Columbia" (1905)Kristen Whissel: "Placing the Spectator on the Scene of History: Modern Warfare and the Battle Reenactment at the Turn of the Century" (2008)Dai Vaughan: "Let There Be Lumiere" (1999)Boleslas Matuszewski: "A New Source of History" (1898)Tom Gunning: "Before Documentary: Early Nonfiction Films and the 'View' Aesthetic" (1997)Edward Curtis: "The Continental Film Company" (1912)W. Stephen Bush: "In The Land of the Head Hunters" (1914)Catherine Russell: "Playing Primitive" (1999)Anonymous: "Movies of Eskimo Life Win Much Appreciation" (1915)Anonymous: "Nanook of the North" (1922)John Grierson: "Flaherty's Poetic Moana" (1926)John Grierson: "Flaherty" (1931-32)Hamid Naficy: "Lured by the East: Ethnographic and Expedition Films about Nomadic Tribes; The Case of Grass" (2006)Bela Balzs: "Compulsive Cameramen" (1925)Anonymous: "New Films Make War Seem More Personal" (1916)Nicholas Reeves: "Cinema, Spectatorship, and Propaganda: Battle of the Somme (1916) and Its Contemporary Audience" (1997)II. Modernisms: State, Left, and Avant-Garde Documentary Between the WarsJonathan Kahana: Introduction to Section IIRobert Allerton Parker: "The Art of the Camera: An Experimental 'Movie'" (1921)Siegfried Kracauer: "Montage" (1947)Annette Michelson: "The Man with the Movie Camera: From Magician to Epistemologist" (1972)Seth Feldman: "Cinema Weekly and Cinema Truth: Dziga Vertov and the Leninist Proportion" (1973)Dziga Vertov: "WE: Variant of a Manifesto" (1922)Jay Leyda: "Bridge" (1964)Mikhail Iampolsky: "Reality at Second Hand" (1991)Joris Ivens: "The Making of Rain" (1969)Joris Ivens: "Reflections on the Avant-Garde Documentary" (1931)Tom Conley: "Documentary Surrealism: On Land Without Bread" (1986)John Grierson: "The Documentary Producer" (1933)John Grierson: "First Principles of Documentary" (1932-34)Otis Ferguson: "Home Truths from Abroad" (1937)Charles Wolfe: "Straight Shots and Crooked Plots: Social Documentary and the Avant-Garde in the 1930s" (1995)Samuel Brody: "The Revolutionary Film: Problem of Form" (1934)Leo T. Hurwitz: "The Revolutionary Film: Next Step" (1934)Ralph Steiner and Leo T. Hurwitz: "A New Approach to Filmmaking" (1935)Willard Van Dyke: Letter from Knoxville (1936)Ralph Steiner: Letter to Jay Leyda (1935)John T. McManus: "Down to Earth in Spain" (1937)Charles Wolfe: "Historicizing the 'Voice of God': The Place of Voice-Over Commentary in Classical Documentary" (1997)Steve Neale: "Triumph of the Will: Notes on Documentary and Spectacle" (1979)Richard Griffith: "Films at the Fair" (1939)III: Documentary Propaganda: World War II and the Post-War CitizenJonathan Kahana: Introduction to Section IIIJames Agee: Review of Iwo Jima newsreels (1945)James Agee: Review of San Pietro (1945)Thomas Cripps and David Culbert: "The Negro Soldier (1944): Film Propaganda in Black and White" (1979)Andre Bazin: "On Why We Fight: History, Documentation, and the Newsreel" (1946)Jim Leach: "The Poetics of Propaganda: Humphrey Jennings and Listen to Britain" (1998)George C. Stoney: "Documentary in the United States in the Immediate Post-World War II Years" (1989)Zoe Druick: "Documenting Citizenship: Reexamining the 1950s National Film Board Films about Citizenship" (2000)Srirupa Roy: "Moving Pictures: The Films Division of India and the Visual Practices of the Nation-State" (2007)Jennifer Home: "Experiments in Propaganda: Reintroducing James Blue's Colombian Trilogy" (2009)Peter Watkins with James Blue and Michael Gill: "Peter Watkins Discusses His Suppressed Nuclear Film The War Game" (1965)IV. Aesthetics of Liberation: Free, Direct, and Verite CinemasJonathan Kahana: Introduction to Section IVJean Painleve: "The Castration of Documentary" (1953)Jean Cocteau: "On Blood of the Beasts" (1963)Lindsay Anderson: "Free Cinema" (1957)Tom Whiteside: "The One-Ton Pencil" (1962)Edgar Morin: "Chronicle of a Film" (1962)Jonathan Rosenbaum: "Radical Humanism and the Coexistence of Film and Poetry in The House is Black" (2003)Jean Rouch with Dan Georgakas, Udayan Gupta, and Judy Janda: "The Politics of Visual Anthropology" (1977)Ricky Leacock: "For an Uncontrolled Cinema" (1961)Bruce Elder: "On the Candid-Eye Movement" (1977)Jonas Mekas: "To Mayor Lindsay / On Film Journalism and Newsreels" (1966)Jeanne Hall: "Realism as a Style in Cinema Verite: A Critical Analysis of Primary" (1991)Margaret Mead: "As Significant as the Invention of Drama or the Novel" (1973)V: Talking Back: Radical Voices and Visions After 1968Jonathan Kahana: Introduction to Section VRobert Stam: "Hour of the Furnaces and the Two Avant Gardes" (1981)Juan Carlos Espinosa, Jorge Fraga, Estrella Pantin: "Toward a Definition of the Didactic Documentary: A Paper Presented to the First National Congress of Education and Culture" (1978)Marilyn Buck, Norm Fruchter, Robert Kramer, and Karen Ross: "Newsreel" (1969)Frederick Wiseman with Alan Westin: "'You Start Off With a Bromide': Conversation with Film Maker Frederick Wiseman" (1974)David MacDougall: "Beyond Observational Cinema" (1973/1992)Pauline Kael: "Beyond Pirandello" (1970)Pearl Bowser: "Pioneers of Black Documentary Film" (1999)Michael Chanan: "Rediscovering Documentary: Cultural Context and Intentionality" (1990)Santiago Alvarez with the editors of Cineaste: "'5 Frames Are 5 Frames, Not 6, But 5': An Interview with Santiago Alvarez" (1975)Abe Mark Nornes: "The Postwar Documentary Trace: Groping in the Dark" (2002)Emile de Antonio with Tanya Neufeld: "An Interview with Emile de Antonio" (1973)Annette Michelson: Reply to de Antonio (1973)Bill Nichols: "The Voice of Documentary" (1983)James Roy MacBean: "Two Laws from Australia, One White, One Black: The Recent Past and the Challenging Future of Ethnographic Film" (1983)Lee Atwell: Review of Word is Out (1979)Julia Lesage: "The Political Aesthetics of the Feminist Documentary Film" (1978)E. Ann Kaplan: "Theories and Strategies of the Feminist Documentary" (1983)Jill Godmilow: "Paying Dues: A Personal Experience with Theatrical Distribution" (1977)Coco Fusco: "A Black Avant-Garde? Notes on Black Audio Film Collective and Sankofa" (1988)Renee Tajima: Letter to Scott MacDonald (1995)John Greyson: "Strategic Compromises: AIDS and Alternative Video Practices" (1990)VI. Truth Not Guaranteed: Reflections, Revisions, and ReturnsEditor's section introductionRobert Sklar: "Documentary: Artifice in the Service of Truth" (1975)Jonas Mekas: "The Diary Film (A Lecture on Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania)" (1972)Chick Strand: "Notes on Ethnographic Film by a Film Artist" (1978)Michael Renov: "Toward a Poetics of Documentary" (1993)Trinh T. Minh-ha: "Mechanical Eye, Electronic Ear and the Lure of Authenticity" (1984)Brian Winston: "The Tradition of the Victim in Griersonian Documentary" (1988)J. Hoberman: "Shoah: The Being of Nothingness" (1985-86)Claude Lanzmann with Marc Chevrie and Herv. Le Roux: "Site and Speech: An Interview with Claude Lanzmann about Shoah" (1985)Linda Williams: "Mirrors without Memories: Truth, History, and the New Documentary" (1993)Peter Bates: "Truth Not Guaranteed: An Interview with Errol Morris" (1989)Harlan Jacobson with Michael Moore: "Michael and Me" (1989)Thomas Waugh: "'Acting to Play Oneself': Notes on Performance in Documentary" (1990)Phillip Brian Harper: "Marlon Riggs: The Subjective Position of Documentary Video" (1995)Paula Rabinowitz: "Melodrama/Male Drama: The Sentimental Contract of American Labor Films" (2002)Marsha Orgeron and Devin Orgeron: "Familial Pursuits, Editorial Acts: Documentaries After the Age of Home Video" (2007)Vivian Sobchack: "Inscribing Ethical Space: 10 Propositions on Death, Representation, and Documentary" (1984)Paul Arthur: "Jargons of Authenticity (Three American Moments)" (1993)VII: Documentary Transformed: Transnational and Transmedial CrossingsJonathan Kahana: Introduction to Section VIIHarun Farocki and Jill Godmilow with Jennifer Horne and Jonathan Kahana: "A Perfect Replica: An Interview with Harun Farocki and Jill Godmilow" (1998)Rachel Gabara: "Mixing Impossible Genres: David Achkar and African Autobiographical Documentary" (2003/2013)Jean-Marie Teno: "Writing on Walls: The Future of African Documentary Cinema" (2010)Chris Berry: "Getting Real: Chinese Documentary, Chinese Postsocialism" (2007)Wu Wenguang: "DV: Individual Filmmaking" (2006)Richard Porton: "Weapon of Mass Instruction: Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11" (2004)Scott MacDonald: "Up Close and Political: Three Short Ruminations on Ideology in the Nature Film" (2006)Amy Villarejo: "Bus 174 and the Living Present" (2006)Barbara Klinger: "Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Meditations on 3D" (2012)Index

Editorial Reviews

"Kahana has curated a rambunctious oratorio of a reader, abundant with sharp discoveries and startling wisdom and surprising conversations across decades and borders. Every aspiring filmmaker should keep a copy in her backpack." --John Greyson, director of Fig Trees