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Subject Of Documentary : Visible Evidence, V. 16 - Michael Renov

Subject Of Documentary

Visible Evidence, V. 16


Published: 1st June 2004
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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).

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Surveying the Subject: An Introductionp. xi
Social Subjectivity
Early Newsreel: The Construction of a Political Imaginary for the New Leftp. 3
The "Real" in Fiction: Brecht, Medium Cool, and the Refusal of Incorporationp. 21
Warring Images: Stereotype and American Representations of the Japanese, 1941-1991p. 43
Lost, Lost, Lost: Mekas as Essayistp. 69
The Subject in Theory
Charged Vision: The Place of Desire in Documentary Film Theoryp. 93
The Subject in History: The New Autobiography in Film and Videop. 104
Filling Up the Hole in the Real: Death and Mourning in Contemporary Documentary Film and Videop. 120
Documentary Disavowals and the Digitalp. 130
Technology and Ethnographic Dialoguep. 148
The Address to the Other: Ethical Discourse in Everything's for Youp. 159
Modes of Subjectivity
New Subjectivities: Documentary and Self-Representation in the Post-verite Agep. 171
The Electronic Essayp. 182
Video Confessionsp. 191
Domestic Ethnography and the Construction of the "Other" Selfp. 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
Notesp. 245
Publication Historyp. 269
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780816634415
ISBN-10: 0816634416
Series: Visible Evidence, V. 16
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
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