The Environmental Documentary: Cinema Activism in the 21st Century by John A. DuvallThe Environmental Documentary: Cinema Activism in the 21st Century by John A. Duvall

The Environmental Documentary: Cinema Activism in the 21st Century

byJohn A. Duvall

Hardcover | May 18, 2017

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The Environmental Documentary provides the first extensive coverage of the most important environmental films of the decade, including their approach to their topics and their impacts on public opinion and political debate. While documentaries with themes of environmental activism date back at least to Pare Lorenz's films of the 1930's, no previous decade has produced the number and quality of films that engage environmental issues from an activist viewpoint. The convergence of high profile issues like climate change, fossil fuel depletion, animal abuse, and corporate malfeasance has combined with the miniaturization of high quality recording equipment and the expansion of documentary programming, to produce an unprecedented number of important and influential documentary productions. The text examines the processes of production and distribution that have produced this explosion in documentaries. The films range from a high-profile Hollywood production with theatrical distribution like An Inconvenient Truth, to shorter independently produced films like The End of Suburbia that have reached a small audience of activists through video distribution, interviews with many of the filmmakers, and word of mouth.
John A. Duvall is Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies at Dominican University of California, USA, specializing in Cinema Studies, Production and Writing. He produced the documentary Peak Oil and Transition in conjunction with his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Dr. Duvall forme...
Title:The Environmental Documentary: Cinema Activism in the 21st CenturyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:May 18, 2017Publisher:BloomsburyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:144117611X

ISBN - 13:9781441176110

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Documenting the Environment What is a Documentary? What is the Environment? 2. Ecocritical Perspectives 3. A Brief History of the Environmental Documentary The Films 4. General Environmental History and Concerns 5. Climate Change 6. Peak Oil 7. Pollution and Waste 8. Food and Water 9. Animals and Extinction 10. Community and Direct Activism 11. Conclusion References Index

Editorial Reviews

Over the last two decades, the environmental documentary subgenre has flourished in tandem with the acceleration of concerns over the environment. Duvall (communications and media studies, Dominican Univ. of California) examines documentaries dealing with environmental issues ranging from species extinction to peak oil (i.e., the point at which the US production of fossil fuels will peak and begin to decline). Duvall demonstrates that the value of films such as An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and GasLand (2010) is their ability to educate the public about crises as much as their commitment to activist reportage. That said, the book offers not so much an argument as a survey. The author relies too much on long descriptive passages of films (some of which are widely available, others not so much) at the expense of critical analysis. The most useful sections of the book are at the beginning: Duvall provides a thematic history of environmental documentaries throughout the 20th century, and he uses Bill Nichols's schema for documentary styles to discuss the environmental films in which he is interested. Like the activists he clearly admires, Duvall is dedicated to consciousness raising; his goal seems to be to get readers to see these films and share them with friends and colleagues. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-and upper-division undergraduates; professionals; general readers.