Michael Renov: Towards a Poetics of Documentary

  Source: www.liveforfilm.com This piece is concerned with what Renov considers the “four fundamental tendencies of documentary;” these are the tendencies to: record, reveal or preserve; persuade or promote; analyze or interrogate; and express. The first element revolves around visual appeals and representation. As such, it replicates the real and creates “a second-order reality cut to…

Ella Shohat and Robert Stam: Stereotype, Realism, and the Struggle over Representation

Source: www.antiracistresistance.wordpress.com In their piece, Shohat and Stam expose how marginalized communities are underrepresented in all sorts of media outlets, coining the term for the approach “multicultural media studies.” Performing the analysis across borders, cultural communities and identities, the authors utilize this “cultural syncretism” to propose a new analytical framework. From the beginning, it is…

The Queer Art of Failure

Source: www.jackhalberstam.com In this book, Jack (also Judith) Halbertstam examines animated movies for children through the lens of critical theory. Halberstam argues that modern animated movies offer one an opportunity for a revolution, transformation and rebellion in terms of acceptable societal norms, particularly values pertaining to the family, queerness, gender and sexuality. His witty “Pixarvolt”…

Citizen Four

Source: www.trueactivist.com The 2014 documentary film Citizen Four reveals the shocking truth about the U.S. government’s virtually unfettered surveillance practices. Directed by Laura Poitras, the documentary’s implicit argument revolves around the illusionary nature of American freedom. The argument seems to come down to the question of civil liberties vs. security, representing a Sophie’s choice where the…

Lilie Chouliaraki: The Ironic Spectator

In this work, Lilie Chouliaraki undertakes the difficult task of pointing out the systemic inequalities and hierarchical structures at work in mediating human suffering. The selected chapter (2) lays down a conceptual framework for the analysis of the “imaginary,” allowing the reader to become familiar with the author’s viewpoint. To this end, Chouliaraki presents a definition…

Ella Shohat: Gender and the Culture of Empire

Source: YouTube In this chapter, Ella Shohat, a professor of cultural studies at New York University, explores the intertwined concepts of race, gender and culture within post-modern feminist film theory. Through her analysis, Shohat counters post-colonial narratives that, as she argues, have dominated Western cinema beginning in the late 19th century and have been crucial…