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American Documentary Film Projecting the Nation

by Jeffrey Geiger

American Documentary Film Projecting the Nation Synopsis

What key concerns are reflected in documentaries produced in and about the United States? How have documentaries engaged with competing visions of US history, culture, politics, and national identity? This book examines how documentary films have contributed to the American public sphere - creating a kind of public space, serving as sites for community-building, public expression, and social innovation. Geiger focuses on how documentaries have been significant in forming ideas of the nation, both as an imagined space and a real place. Moving from the dawn of cinema to the present day, this is the first full-length study to focus on the extensive range and history of American non-fiction filmmaking. Combining comprehensive overviews with in-depth case studies, Geiger maps American documentary's intricate histories, examining the impact of pre- and early cinema, travelogues, the avant-garde, 1930s social documentary, propaganda, direct cinema, postmodernism, and 'new' documentary. Offering detailed close analyses and fresh insights, this book provides students and scholars with a stimulating guide to American documentary, reminding us of its important place in cinema history. Key Features * Historical overview of major documentary forms and practices in the USA * Case studies, including Nanook of the North, The Plow that Broke the Plains, Grey Gardens, and Fahrenheit 9/11 * Analysis of critical debates relating to filmic representations of reality

American Documentary Film Projecting the Nation Press Reviews

In American Documentary Film, Jeffrey Geiger examines the role of documentary film in mobilizing, promoting, and even suppressing central myths of U.S. national identity. His brilliant close readings illuminate the relationship between the rhetorical, technical and stylistic elements of specific films and a broader set of contexts and concerns. Rigorous yet accessible, this elegantly-written book will be of great value to the general reader and the specialist alike, and it will transform the way we consider the history, theory, and practice of documentary filmmaking. -- Valerie Smith, Princeton University In American Documentary Film, Jeffrey Geiger examines the role of documentary film in mobilizing, promoting, and even suppressing central myths of U.S. national identity. His brilliant close readings illuminate the relationship between the rhetorical, technical and stylistic elements of specific films and a broader set of contexts and concerns. Rigorous yet accessible, this elegantly-written book will be of great value to the general reader and the specialist alike, and it will transform the way we consider the history, theory, and practice of documentary filmmaking.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780748621477
Publication date: 29th June 2011
Author: Jeffrey Geiger
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 288 pages
Categories: Documentary films,

About Jeffrey Geiger

Jeffrey Geiger is a senior lecturer in film studies at the University of Essex. He has published widely on documentary film and American Studies, as well as having a background in film production. His books include Facing the Pacific: Polynesia and the U.S. Imperial Imagination and the co-edited Film Analysis: A Norton Reader.

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