Observational Cinema

Observational Cinema : Anthropology, Film, and the Exploration of Social Life

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Once hailed as a radical breakthrough in documentary and ethnographic filmmaking, observational cinema has been criticized for a supposedly detached camera that objectifies and dehumanizes the subjects of its gaze. Anna Grimshaw and Amanda Ravetz provide the first critical history and in-depth appraisal of this movement, examining key works, filmmakers, and theorists, from Andre Bazin and the Italian neorealists, to American documentary films of the 1960s, to extended discussions of the ethnographic films of Herb Di Gioia, David Hancock, and David MacDougall. They make a new case for the importance of observational work in an emerging experimental anthropology, arguing that this medium exemplifies a non-textual anthropology that is both analytically rigorous and epistemologically challenging.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 152.4 x 233.68 x 17.78mm | 430.91g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 25 b&w illus.
  • 0253221587
  • 9780253221582
  • 607,575

Review quote

Observational Cinema is a fascinating and much-needed study of an important body of work. * American Ethnologist * Grimshaw and Ravetz offer an appealing study of the observational cinematic method in ethnographic research. XVI, No. 3, 2010 * Anthropological Notebooks * Arguing from the works of Andre Bazin, Colin Young, Herb Di Gioia, and others, the authors make a case for continuous long shots, respectful engagement with subjects, a humanistic perspective that values the quotidian of people's lives, and a reluctance to indulge in pre-information about the subject matter of films' targeted topics. . . . Recommended.July 2010 * Choice *
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About Anna Grimshaw

Anna Grimshaw is Associate Professor in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, Emory University. She is author of Servants of the Buddha and The Ethnographer's Eye: Ways of Seeing in Modern Anthropology. Amanda Ravetz is Research Fellow at Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design, Manchester Metropolitan University.
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Table of contents

ContentsPrefaceAcknowledgmentsPart One. 1. What Is Observational Cinema? 2. Social Observers: Robert Drew, Albert and David Maysles, Frederick WisemanPart Two. 3. Observational Cinema in the Making: The Work of Herb Di Gioia and David Hancock 4. Observational Cinema on the Move: The Work of David MacDougallPart Three. 5. Rethinking Observational Cinema 6. Toward an Experimental AnthropologyNotesFilmographyBibliographyIndex
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Rating details

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