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 theheightened 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).
|Surveying the Subject: An Introduction||p. xi|
|Early Newsreel: The Construction of a Political Imaginary for the New Left||p. 3|
|The "Real" in Fiction: Brecht, Medium Cool, and the Refusal of Incorporation||p. 21|
|Warring Images: Stereotype and American Representations of the Japanese, 1941-1991||p. 43|
|Lost, Lost, Lost: Mekas as Essayist||p. 69|
|The Subject in Theory|
|Charged Vision: The Place of Desire in Documentary Film Theory||p. 93|
|The Subject in History: The New Autobiography in Film and Video||p. 104|
|Filling Up the Hole in the Real: Death and Mourning in Contemporary Documentary Film and Video||p. 120|
|Documentary Disavowals and the Digital||p. 130|
|Technology and Ethnographic Dialogue||p. 148|
|The Address to the Other: Ethical Discourse in Everything's for You||p. 159|
|Modes of Subjectivity|
|New Subjectivities: Documentary and Self-Representation in the Post-verite Age||p. 171|
|The Electronic Essay||p. 182|
|Video Confessions||p. 191|
|Domestic Ethnography and the Construction of the "Other" Self||p. 216|
|The End of Autobiography or New Beginnings? (or, Everything You Never Knew You Would Know about Someone You Will Probably Never Meet)||p. 230|
|Publication History||p. 269|
|Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Visible Evidence, V. 16
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 1st June 2004
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 17.6 x 25.2 x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.56