A New History of British Documentary by J. Chapman

By J. Chapman

A brand new heritage of British Documentary is the 1st accomplished review of documentary creation in Britain from early movie to the current day. It covers either the movie and tv industries and demonstrates how documentary perform has tailored to altering institutional and ideological contexts.

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Product Details
Paperback: 255 pages
Publisher: 3 Rivers Press; 1st variation (April thirteen, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0517572842
ISBN-13: 978-0517572849
Product Dimensions: eight. eight x 6 x zero. 7 inches
Shipping Weight: 12. eight oz.

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The context for this was the, admittedly somewhat tardy, recognition by the state of the value of film as a vehicle of propaganda. Official attitudes towards film were initially condescending or, at best, indifferent. 34 In this respect it was the film trade itself that took the lead. The trade paper The Bioscope argued from early in the war that cinema could be more than just an entertainment medium: So wonderful are both the achievements and the possibilities of the cinematograph as a means of entertainment that one is sometimes apt to forget the extraordinary potency of this marvellous and manysided instrument as a moulder of public thought and public opinion.

The scope of the project means that some topics have necessarily been elided. The aim is to provide a historical overview of documentary that combines its contexts – particularly institutional and ideological contexts – with an analysis of the formal and aesthetic practices of documentary. There is also some attempt to address the reception of documentary, though the fragmentary nature of primary sources makes this difficult. The methodology is empirical rather than theoretical: it is concerned with the nitty-gritty details of the production and consumption of documentary film and television rather than with the abstract philosophical notions of ‘truth’ that have preoccupied much documentary theorizing.

Charles Urban’s visionary idea that cinema would serve ‘matters of state’ would be realized during the war. Yet there was initially much official resistance to the adoption of film by the state. Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, was distrustful of the mass media and in September 1914 placed a blanket ban on all cameramen and newspaper correspondents at the front. One of the Documentary Before Grierson 29 consequences of this decision was that most early British war films were fictional enactments that tended towards sensational melodrama rather than actuality films.

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