By Scott MacDonald
American Ethnographic movie and private Documentary is a severe background of yankee filmmakers the most important to the improvement of ethnographic movie and private documentary. The Boston and Cambridge zone is remarkable for nurturing those ways to documentary movie through associations akin to the MIT movie part and the movie learn heart, the wood worker middle and the visible and Environmental reports division at Harvard. Scott MacDonald makes use of pragmatism’s specialize in empirical event as a foundation for measuring the groundbreaking achievements of such influential filmmakers as John Marshall, Robert Gardner, Timothy Asch, Ed Pincus, Miriam Weinstein, Alfred Guzzetti, Ross McElwee, Robb Moss, Nina Davenport, Steve Ascher and Jeanne Jordan, Michel Negroponte, John Gianvito, Alexander Olch, Amie Siegel, Ilisa Barbash, and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. by means of exploring the cinematic, own, relationships among those finished filmmakers, MacDonald exhibits how a pioneering, engaged, and uniquely cosmopolitan method of documentary constructed over the last part century.
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Extra info for American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn
Adds an audio component to the intimacy established by the in-close cinematography, and our reading the subtitles—while it does interrupt our view on the women—engages us within this quiet moment in a way that Marshall’s voice-over in The Hunters does not. Marshall’s films have nearly always been subsumed within the category of ethnographic film, the assumption being that their primary, if not only, function is to provide a useful adjunct to anthropological investigations of an indigenous group, and particularly, an indigenous group whose way of life is under threat from modernity—as represented, of course, by the camera itself.
In a distant tree. After a brief shot of a lizard, at first still, then moving, we see, through some brush, a tree underneath which we gradually realize are at least two antelope. These first five shots are silent, but the longer sixth shot introduces a wide-angle shot of two men walking through a field, hunting (this image is carefully composed so that one man walks at the right edge of the frame; the other man at the left edge; the shot is accompanied by phrases of what we assume is a bit of music indigenous to this environment).
First, “What the people I am filming actually do and say is more interesting and important than what I think about them”; and second, “When I filmed people from a distance, they were easy to understand. If their actions were not obvious, I could explain what they were doing with a few words of narration. ”17 The two earliest films Marshall finished after The Hunters—A Group of Women (1961) and A Joking Relationship (1962)—represent an aesthetic breakthrough and, perhaps, to some degree a missed opportunity.