Cultural theory and Documentary film


Thoughts in the rain
July 15, 2009, 19:07
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This immersion in cultural theory and documentary film is very much made easier by the the lousy summer weather so far. We have done four sessions and there are five more to go with screenings. One could wonder what sort of urge it is, that makes you do some choices. I have to confess that it just was unstoppable curiosity that made me apply to this course, and at first I thought, I do it just for fun and to see if it actually worked doing the application through the internet. I didn´t know if I really thought I´d attend the course. But as it was, I received  the admittance with the reading list, and there they began to tug me in, the screenings was of films I´d never heard of, the titles of the books and readings wetted my mouth. So slowly I stuck to the idea that this was a probable summertime excursion. Had we had more of documentary film in our education at my Media-Communication program at the university of Gävle, I could have evaded the matter all together.  And of course there is questions, that I sometimes ponder, that had a vague promise of answers in the course material, or else I wouldn´t be involved.  I think I have mentioned my own feeble attempts to make documentary notes with a videocamera.  A later question is of more actuality, namely my partys ambition to provide our websites with Youtube clips. At this time I don´t really feel comfortable with our clips and what we are supposed to accomplish with our clips, and feel it could be good with a deeper understanding of documentary film to achieve some working idea of how to use these Youtube-clips.  I feel little uncomfortable with the present status of our clips, but I also think that it is important to have them. But maybe there should a more specific media strategy behind.

We are supposed to deliver a 15 page research paper in the course, I still have a notion to make a reading of our literature, but try to apply more of my favourite theory to it. Some sort of classic history-materialistic view of the market conditions, production environment and a general review of the films as commodities could be interesting, also there could be som fruititive work in applying thoughts of rootnetworking by Gilles Delueze and Felix Guattari (http://www.generation-online.org/p/pdeleuzeguattari.htm), and their writing of the nomadic expansion of territory and the further enclosement of it by the state and its rulatory war apparatus. For I think it is obvious that this early history of the documentary bears evidence of the freewheeling development of a field, with individuals making their own sparking ideas to film and setting new standards for the whole field. And as time goes their films and writings connect to each other like roots spreading underneath the ground and accidentally meeting each other and making new connections.

http://www.generation-online.org/c/crhizome.htm

The early soviet documentary, I think could be seen as an example of nomadic fim making with great liberty before the structures of state draws the lines and sets the rules to follow. The revolutionary situation led  to a rather short period when artists and writers could make
expeditions into unknown realms of culture before Stalins stonecold hand demanded order and line-up to socialrealism.

Another idea to follow in a paper could also be a close reading with Pirzig ideas of things always thriving to establish higher orders of quality, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._Pirsig.

Alas, that would mean that I would have reread mr Pirsigs book, and I don´t think  I have sufficient time doing that.

Though the screenings so far are  fine examples of how things evolve, try out different modes, of which some survive and other doesn´t, and how the films evolves in my eyes to higher orders of quality in settings, in the way they are edited and how sound is brought to bear.

Said all this, maybe the reader could understand that I am up this time been enjoying myself… and the findings in this course are valuable so far.

Note 17 july, did some editing, maybe I should find how to insert a english dictionary in my OpenOffice..?

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