ERIC Number: ED123680
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Directed and Direct: Changing Conventions in the American Documentary; University Film Study Center Research Program: A Symposium on The American Documentary.
This article discusses the history of American documentary films and examines several specific films. Any documentary has the primary job of reacting a virtual reality and maintaining an impression of immediate experience. While this has remained a constant requirement, the formal conventions which filmmakers use to create the virtual reality have evolved and changed, so that devices that might have been accepted as realistic thirty years ago seem suspect when compared to the norms of realism Americans have absorbed from today's films. At least two distinct categories of documentary style are distinguishable today: analytic cinema and direct cinema. Analytic cinema includes all documentaries that obtain their effects through the conjunctive use of image, a spoken narration or commentary, and usually music. Direct cinema creates a virtual reality with conventions seemingly unmediated by film technique and opposite to those of analytic cinema. Some of the films discussed include "Why We Fight,""The River,""Black Natchez,""Don't Look Back,""Titicut Follies,""High School,""Chronicle of a Summer,""And So They Live,""Jaguar,""Eddie,""On the Pole," and "Primate." (TS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: University Film Study Center, Cambridge, MA.