What Does My List of Films Mean?

The films listed in my last post generally have one thing in common:  Each is an example of direct cinema to varying degrees. The Wikipedia definition is as good as any:

Like the cinéma vérité genre, direct cinema was initially characterized by filmmakers’ desire to capture reality directly, to represent it truthfully, and to question the relationship between reality and cinema.

I was a journalist before I became an academic and teacher of print/internet journalism. Then I became a documentary filmmaker and a teacher of same. So the direct style has a natural appeal for me following from the journalistic imperative to truthfully represent reality. At some point soon I’ll begin to tackle some of the thornier questions about truth, reality, representation,  and relationships — reality to cinema, subject to cinema, subject to reality, filmmaker to cinema, subject, and reality. There’s much to unpack.

The point now is that each of these films inspires me as I walk a path along my own direct cinema journey. I have a long way yet to go. My first two films — Shared Spaces and Downtown: A New American Dream — were exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from a former journalist and documentary noob using all that he already knew as a crutch. Interview heavy. Illustrative b-roll. The issue itself as protagonist. You get the idea.

I’ll deal with each of the films on the list, and others, in the coming days.

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