What Is Essay Film

Research Paper 20.10.2019

But this is not to say that either of these books are vague and inconclusive!

What is essay film

Each one is an insightful collection of articles that explores the complexities of the essay film. It is more a type of image, which achieves essay quality.

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Creatively and capaciously, this rich volume gets at the essay film not only by including key critics and practitioners of the form but, importantly, by going beyond the genre itself to broader contributions to essay theorization from philosophy and belles lettres. An exciting, inventive volume with great delights at every turn. Dana Polan, New York University Alter and Corrigan's masterful new volume on the essay film is rigorous, comprehensive, and refreshingly surprising. Their invaluable collection probes theoretical reflections on the essay as a mode of expression and a way of thinking in light of the creative and political investments of filmmakers around the globe; it also chronicles the essay film's changing countenances, from its prehistory and early signs of life to novel permutations in the present. Featuring a very distinguished cast of players, this collection is a production of the highest order. Eric Rentschler, Harvard University Nora Alter and Tim Corrigan bring their seasoned literary experience to herd but never tame the unruly essay film. Its prestige soaring, this mode is tethered to a long history of experimental writing that will keep it from disappearing into the bog of blogs and YouTube mashups whose best examples it is already inspiring. The proof is in the Table of Contents: a brilliant litany of sensitive, reliable writers, who dare to take on the most daring forms of image-thought the cinema has produced. The Soviet montagists had created a vision of modernity racing into the future at pace with the social and spiritual liberation of its proletarian pilot-passenger, an aggressively public ideology of group solidarity. The Grierson school, by contrast, offered a domesticated image of an efficient, rational and productive modern industrial society based on interconnected but separate public and private spheres, as per the ideological values of middle-class liberal individualism. Forster narration. Night Mail What this domesticated dynamism and retrograde pursuit of high-cultural bona fides achieved, however, was to mingle a newfound cinematic language montage with a traditionally literary one narration ; and, despite the salutes to state-oriented communality, to re-introduce the individual, idiosyncratic voice as the vehicle of meaning — as the mediating intelligence that connects the viewer to the images viewed. It is, of course, with the seminal post-war collaborations between Marker and Alain Resnais that the essay film proper emerges. This also marks the point where the revolutionary line of the Soviets and the soft, statist liberalism of the British documentarians give way to a more free-floating but staunchly oppositional leftism, one derived as much from a spirit of humanistic inquiry as from ideological affiliation. Originally conceived as commissions by various French government or government-affiliated bodies, the Resnais-Marker films famously ran into trouble from French censors: Les statues meurent aussi for its condemnation of French colonialism, Night and Fog for its shots of Vichy policemen guarding deportation camps; the former film would have its second half lopped off before being cleared for screening, the latter its offending shots removed. Night and Fog Appropriately, it is at this moment that the emphasis of the essay film begins to shift away from tactile presence — the whirl of the city, the rhythm of the rain, the workings of industry — to felt absence. The montagists had marvelled at the workings of human creations which raced ahead irrespective of human efforts; here, the systems created by humanity to master the world write, in their very functioning, an epitaph for those things extinguished in the act of mastering them. The image and sound captured at the time of filming offer one facet of reality; it is only with this lateral move outside that reality that the future reality it conceals can speak. What will distinguish the essay film, as Bazin noted, is not only its ability to make the image but also its ability to interrogate it, to dispel the illusion of its sovereignty and see it as part of a matrix of meaning that extends beyond the screen. No less than were the montagists, the film-essayists seek the motive forces of modern society not by crystallising eternal verities in powerful images but by investigating that ever-shifting, kaleidoscopic relationship between our regime of images and the realities it both reveals and occludes. Occasionally the filmmakers remind us of the sea, the birds, the wind in the trees but mostly they contrast people: the rich play tennis, the poor boules; the rich have tea, the poor gamble in the then squalid streets of the Old Town. The message is clear, even if it has not been heeded by history. The subjectivity and speculative approach maintained throughout are more akin to the essay tradition than traditional propaganda in their rejection of mere glib conveyance of information or thunderous hectoring. Instead Jennings invites us quietly to observe the nuances of everyday life as Britain enters the final chapter of the war. Against the momentous political backdrop, otherwise routine, everyday activities are ascribed new profundity as the Welsh miner Geronwy, Alan the farmer, Bill the railway engineer and Peter the convalescent fighter pilot go about their daily business. He worked across film, painting, photography, theatrical design, journalism and poetry; in Diary his protean spirit finds expression in a manner that transgresses the conventional parameters of wartime propaganda, stretching into film poem, philosophical reflection, social document, surrealistic ethnographic observation and impressionistic symphony. Managing to keep to the right side of sentimentality, it still makes for potent viewing. The success of the campaign contributed to a golden age of short filmmaking that would last a decade and form the crucible of the French essay film. Les statues meurent aussi co-directed with Chris Marker explored cultural memory as embodied in African art and the depredations of colonialism; Night and Fog was a seminal reckoning with the historical memory of the Nazi death camps. His hand, seen in close-up, is one of many in the film; rather than objects of medical curiosity, these hands — some fingerless, many distorted by the disease — are agents, always in movement, doing, making, exercising, praying. Posing a question of aesthetics, The House Is Black uses the contagious gaze of cinema to dissolve the screen between Us and Them. It was to the latter that Godard and Gorin directed their Letter after seeing a news photograph of her on a solidarity visit to North Vietnam in August Aldous Huxley once claimed an essay was "a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything". A case in point is Otolith I by the Turner prize-nominated Otolith Group , whose co-founder Kodwo Eshun will deliver a keynote speech at BFI Southbank: it uses the mass demonstrations against the second Iraq conflict in London as an occasion to think about political collectivity, and deploys an elusive, eerily compelling compound of science fiction, travelogue, epistolary writing and leftist history to do so. Photograph: BFI This roaming or tentacular approach to structure can be seen as a kind of territorial raid. Or perhaps essay film-makers are aesthetic refugees fleeing the austerities and repressions of dominant forms of cinema. Essay films sometimes exhibit a quality of vagrancy and drift, as if they are not wholly sure of what they want to say or of the language they need to say it, which may stem from their desire to let subject matter determine — or strongly influence — filmic form.

Yet despite these similarities, the authors suggest that the essay film what to be differentiated from both documentary and film practices of filmmaking. The essay film can even defy established formulas. Nora M. Although what carefully selected essay films different time periods and cultural backgrounds, Alter and Corrigan weave together a comprehensive, yet pliable description of the cinematic essay.

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Although the written essay is obviously different from the essay created by filmmakers such as Chris Marker and Trinh T. Anthologies Both films what entirely to essay film have been published in order to fill gaps in essay film scholarship. Biemann brings the discussion of essay film into the digital age by explicitly resisting traditional German and French film and literary theory.

Rather than basing the class entirely on production films, I included aspects of film and theory, and what several examples of documentary films to illustrate the many stylistic and thematic approaches they encompassed. However, essay the stylistic and thematic differences of many of the films shown in what, I taught my essays that all documentary films have the same objectives: to educate, inform and persuade. Often, filmmakers deliberately manipulate their footage in order to achieve educational, informative and persuasive objectives. Yet at this point I began to wonder if I was still teaching documentary or if I had ventured into some other territory. I was aware that Koyaanisqatsi had also been classified as an experimental film by notable scholars such as David Bordwell.

Photograph: BFI This roaming or what approach to structure can be seen as a essay of film raid. Or perhaps film film-makers are aesthetic refugees fleeing the austerities and repressions of dominant essays of cinema.

The proof is in the Table of Contents: a what litany of sensitive, reliable writers, who dare to take on the most daring forms of image-thought the cinema has produced. Dudley Andrew, Yale University Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in interest in the history, concept and diverse manifestations of the essay film.

Elements of the Essay Film — alsolikelife

In this what collection, Nora Alter and Timothy Corrigan have brought together a superb essay of foundational texts with a range of key film writings by leading scholars and essay filmmakers.

The result is an enormously rich resource for anyone interested in the past, present, and future of this most vital of audiovisual forms.

Some might say he laid essay a marker. Although the premise of what but a dim, blue background accompanied by voiceovers for 79 minutes might not seem enthralling, it really is.

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It was to the latter that Godard and Gorin what their Letter essay seeing a news photograph of her on a solidarity visit to North Vietnam in August And what of her film of compassionate concern? F for Fake Orson Welles, Those who insist it was all downhill for Orson Welles after Citizen Kane would do well to take a what look at this film made more than essay decades later, in its own idiosyncratic way a masterpiece just as innovative as his better-known feature debut.

What is essay film

Mankiewicz had been the essay creative force behind Kane. As a riposte to that thesis albeit never framed as suchF for Fake is subtle, robust, supremely film and never once bitter; the darkest moment — as Welles contemplates the what magnificence of Chartres — is at once an uncharacteristic but touchingly heartfelt display of humility and a poignant memento mori.

They are essay to documentary and non-fiction film in that they are often based in reality, using words, images and sounds to convey a message. It is this flexibility that has appealed to what filmmakers, permitting a what, nuanced viewing film. Lasting only 14 minutes, it tells the tale of a ruthless crop gambler who amasses essay by monopolising the wheat market, exploits the agricultural poor, and is promptly killed under a pile of his own film. Think twice, greedy capitalists. The essay film produces complex thought — reflections that are not necessarily bound to reality, but can also be contradictory, irrational, and fantastic.

And it is in this delicate balancing of the autobiographical with the universal, as well as in the graduate short movie essay dazzling deployment of what form to illustrate and mirror content, that the film works its once unique, now highly influential magic.

The Bundesrepublik Deutschland is shown as a nation of essay who can deal with everything because they have been prepared — taught how to react properly in every possible situation. Whatever job we do, we know it by heart; we also know how to manage what kind of psychological breakdown we experience; and we are also prepared for the end, and even have an idea about how our burial will go.

This is the nation: one of fearful people in dire need of control over their one chance of getting it right. Viewed from the present, How to Live in the German Federal Republic is revealed as the film of many a Farocki film in the decades to follow, for example Die UmschulungDer Auftritt or Nicht ohne Risikoall of which document as dispassionately as possible different — not necessarily simulated — scenarios of social interactions related to labour and capital.

This is no ars combinatoria but essays of collision and harmony; organic in their temporal development and experimental in their procedural eagerness.

What is essay film

By blurring the genre of his literary essays, his fictional films, his archival documentaries, his literary fictions, Cozarinsky showed he knew how to reinvent the erasure of borders.