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By Lucia Ricciardelli

American Documentary Filmmaking within the electronic Age examines the hot demanding situations to the conventions of realist documentary throughout the lens of warfare documentary movies via Ken Burns, Michael Moore, and Errol Morris. throughout the 20th century, the discovery of latest applied sciences of audiovisual illustration similar to cinema, tv, video, and electronic media have remodeled the modes of ancient narration and with it compelled historians to evaluate the effect of recent visible applied sciences at the development of heritage. This ebook investigates the way during which this modern Western "crisis" in old narrative is produced via a bigger epistemological shift in visible tradition. Ricciardelli makes use of the subject matter of struggle as depicted in those administrators’ movies to concentration her learn and view the model(s) of nationwide identification that Burns, Morris, and Moore form via their depictions folks army activities. She examines how postcolonial reviews of historicism and the arrival of digitization have affected the narrative constitution of documentary movie and the shaping of old recognition via cinematic illustration.

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Curtis (In the Land of the Head Hunters, 1914; Seeing America, 1916) and Robert J. , Jacob Riis; Lewis Hine), the US film industry, often in conjunction with the government, began to produce nonfiction films that tackled various social issues. Tellingly, it was John Grierson, a son of the British Empire whose academic research focused on sociology of propaganda, who coined what Eurocentric film historians consider to be the first definition of documentary. In 1924, Grierson “was awarded a Rockefeller research fellowship in social science for study in America,”21 where he became acquainted with the US academic sociological model.

According to postcolonial thinker Edward Said, colonizing powers fabricated the notion of a colonial “other” by typifying the conquered peoples in simplistic and debasing ways. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978). Peter Childs and Patrick Williams, An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997), 100. Homi Bhabha, “The Other Question . . Homi K. Bhabha Reconsiders the Stereotype and Colonial Discourse,” Screen, 24. 6 (1983): 18–36. Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (London: Pluto Press, 1986).

Riis’s photos of immigrants and Jean Martin Charcot’s pictures of hysterical patients were crucial in setting the standard for realist photographic practices during the first half of the 20th century. 8 In capturing on camera the living conditions of immigrants and the poor, he inserted his documentary project within the framework of contemporary US social reformism. Yet, behind Riis’s social reformist intent, there was the latent purpose of helping the New York middle class to control the increasingly threatening presence of the working class in the city.

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