Claiming the Real: Documentary: Grierson and Beyond

Claiming the Real: Documentary: Grierson and Beyond

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By (author) Brian Winston

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  • Publisher: BFI PUBLISHING
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 168mm x 232mm x 22mm | 581g
  • Publication date: 15 January 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1844572714
  • ISBN 13: 9781844572717
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: 44 black & white halftones
  • Sales rank: 507,080

Product description

CLAIMING THE REAL II tells the story of the emergence, development and current state of documentary film emerged and addresses the social, political, industrial and ethical factors that have determined documentary production, esepcially in the English-speaking world. John Grierson's definition of the documentary as 'the creative treatment of actuality' appears increasingly inadequate in the face of theoretical sophistication, ethical quagmires and digital's undermining of the photographic image's intrinsic claim on the real. Documentary forms are proliferating. No longer does the 'fly-on-wall' direct cinema style - creative treatment's purest form - sum up the documentary. Diverse forms such as agitprop and advocacy, animated documentary and CGI, satire, poetry and pictorialism, docusoaps, dramadocs and documusicals, excluded feminist, minority and other marginalised voices and first person documentaries, mockumentaries and rockumentaries, never mind 'reality' television - all assert their documentary status. Brian Winston's illuminating history of the documentary is interwoven with considerations of ethical and theoretical concerns. This revised and updated edition includes a restructured last section on 'The Post-Griersonian Documentary'; addresses the issues raised by the richness of recent work, and offers a new definition of documentary that responds to its current abundance.

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Author information

BRIAN WINSTON is the Lincoln Professor of Communications at the University of Lincoln, and has been involved with documentary since 1963. He has an Emmy for documentary scriptwriting; has taught documentary in both the US and the UK; and has long been involved with many international documentary film festivals and the Visible Evidence conference series. Winston first wrote about documentary in 1978. He is the author of a number of books, including Media, Technology and Society: A History, from the Telegraph to the Internet (1998), a volume on "Fires Were Started-" (1999) in the BFI Film Classics series, Lies, Damn Lies and Documentaries (2000) and Messages: Free Expression, Media and the West, from Gutenberg to Google (2005).

Table of contents

Preface I Preface to the 2nd edition PART I: THE CREATIVE TREATMENT OF ACTUALITY The Documentary and CGI The Documentary Film in 1914 The Documentary as the Creative Treatment of Actuality PART II: CREATIVE: DOCUMENTARY AS ART Photography as Art The Documentarist as Explorer/Artist The Griersonian Artist Documentary Film and Realist Painting The Politics of Realism Running Away from Social Meaning Poor, Suffering Characters: Victims and Problem Moments Serious-Minded Chaps: Politics and Poetics He Never Used the Word Revolution To Command, and Cumulatively Command, the Mind of a Generation Running Away from Social Meaning in America Staatspolitisch Besonders Wertvoll To Win New Comrades for the Cause A Curious Comment PART III: TREATMENT: DOCUMENTARY AS DRAMA Life as Narrativised Chrono-Logic Non-Narrative: Works Better in the Head than on the Screen Sincere and Justifiable Reconstruction PART IV: ACTUALITY: DOCUMENTARY AS SCIENCE Photography as Science Science as Inscription Evidence in the Law Technologising the Documentary Agenda Documentary as Scientific Inscription: Film as Evidence Moments of Revelation This Objective-Subjective Stuff Is a Lot of Bullshit Kinopravda Film as Ethnography Film as Truth The Principles of Visual Anthropology Flies in the Soup: The Influence of Cinema Verite Flies on the Wall: The Influence of Direct Cinema PART V: THE POST-GRIERSONIAN DOCUMENTARY? The Naturalistic Illusion The Battlefields of Epistomology The Difference that Makes a Difference What Constraints? The Voluntary Consent of the Human Subject What Interests the Public The Nadir of Human Achievement The post-Griersonian Documentary: a tour d'horizon The post-Griersonian Documentary: The Farther Shore Do Not Be Afraid... Envoi Notes Bibliography Index