American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn

Overview


“How does Scott MacDonald do it? Every couple of years he produces a work so significant that it would have taken any other scholar at least a decade to produce. This, his newest opus, extends the spatial approach to cinema he pioneered in The Garden in the Machine, but does so by focusing on documentary rather the avant-garde. His exploration of the interlaced traditions of ethnographic and personal documentary filmmaking in the Boston area in the light of American Pragmatism’s commitment to the examination of ...
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American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn

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Overview


“How does Scott MacDonald do it? Every couple of years he produces a work so significant that it would have taken any other scholar at least a decade to produce. This, his newest opus, extends the spatial approach to cinema he pioneered in The Garden in the Machine, but does so by focusing on documentary rather the avant-garde. His exploration of the interlaced traditions of ethnographic and personal documentary filmmaking in the Boston area in the light of American Pragmatism’s commitment to the examination of lived experience is a remarkable addition to his already remarkable oeuvre.” – David E. James, author of The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles

"[American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary] is a superbly original and informative work that takes as its project the creation of a cognitive map of a significant and geographically specific area within the larger field of independent documentary filmmaking. It is fascinating to follow the book's careful articulation of the network of teachers and students, and the institutions where they and their films flourished. This book establishes a new path for documentary studies within a cultural landscape that widens to spatial media studies and beyond.”– Janet Walker, author of Trauma Cinema: Documenting Incest and the Holocaust

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Editorial Reviews

Slant Magazine - Clayton Dillard

"Inestimable addition to the film-studies canon." 10 Best Film-Studies Books of 2013.
Documentary - Cynthia Close

"Intimacy is rarely a word connected to published academic work, and yet I can't think of a better word to distinguish MacDonald's thoroughly researched and rigorously annotated tome from all previous books I've reviewed on these pages."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520275621
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 6/17/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Scott MacDonald teaches film history at Hamilton College and Harvard University and in 2011 was named an Academy Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is the author of many books for UC Press, most recently Adventures in Perception: Cinema as Exploration (2009).
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Table of Contents


Introduction 
A Tentative Overview of Boston-Area Documentary Filmmaking • Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary • Pragmatism: Learning from Experience • The Mission of American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn • Subjects for Further Research • Acknowledgments

1. Lorna and John Marshall 
Beginnings: Lorna Marshall and First Film • John Marshall: The Hunters • Idylls of the !Kung • Pedagogy • Expulsion from Eden: Bitter Melons and N!ai, the Story of a !Kung Woman • The Pittsburgh Police Films and Brakhage’s Eyes • Putting Down the Camera and Picking Up the Shovel • The Road Taken: A Kalahari Family • A Process in Time

2. Robert Gardner 
East Coast/West Coast: Early Experiments • Gardner and the Marshalls • Dead Birds • The Experience of Filmmaking as Thought Process • Robert Fulton: Reality’s Invisible—“Serious Playing Around” • Screening Room: Midnight Movies • City Symphony: Forest of Bliss • The Return of the Repressed: Ika Hands • Still Journeying On: Unfinished Examinations of a Life • Studio7Arts: Sharon Lockhart’s Double Tide and Robert Fenz’s Correspondence

3. Timothy Asch 
Dodoth Morning and the Ethnographic Deadpan • Asch and the Yanomamo • The Ax Fight

4. Ed Pincus and the Emergence of Personal Documentary 
The Miriam Weinstein Quartet and Richard P. Rogers’s Elephants: Fragments of an Argument • Ed Pincus’s Diaries (1971–1976) • Alfred Guzzetti: Family Portrait Sittings • Guzzetti: It’s a Small World • Guzzetti: Time Exposure

5. Alfred Guzzetti and Personal Cinema 
Air • Experimental Video: “Language Lessons” • Scylla and Charybdis • Still Point

6. Ross McElwee 
Finding a Muse: Charleen • Finding a Voice: Ann Schaetzel’s Breaking and Entering and McElwee’s Backyard • Dopplegänger: Sherman’s March • Nesting Dolls: Time Indefinite • On the Road Again: Six O’Clock News • Occupational Hazards: Bright Leaves • Orpheus: In Paraguay and Photographic Memory

7. Robb Moss 
Riverdogs: A Possible Eden • The Tourist: “Freelance Editing” • Voyage of Life: The Same River Twice

8. Panorama: Other Approaches to Personal Documentary 
Steve Ascher and Jeanne Jordan: Families in Transition • Michel Negroponte: Getting Involved • Leacock and Lalonde • The Subject Rebels: Nina Davenport’s Films and Ed Pincus and Lucia Small’s The Axe in the Attic • The Political Is the Personal: John Gianvito’s Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind and Jeff Daniel Silva’s Balkan Rhapsodies • Alexander Olch’s The Windmill Movie: “This Little Séance of Flickering Light” • Amie Siegel’s DDR/DDR

9. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Sensory Ethnography 
Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, and Sweetgrass • “Sheeple”: Castaing-Taylor’s Audio-Video Installations • The Sensory Ethnography Lab: J. P. Sniadecki, Stephanie Spray, Véréna Paravel, and Leviathan

Epilogue 

Appendix: Film Sources 
Notes 
Index

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