Re: (doc books; Waugh)

From: Jonathan Kahana (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Dec 31 2006 - 15:41:57 PST


Alain (and anyone else interested),

> Could you throw out some names and titles of some of the work discussed,
> or perhaps reference a book by Waugh? I am assuming they are NFB films, or
> was he referring to more radical strands of production taking place
> outside of the NFB?

Waugh was speaking specifically of the Challenge for Change/Societe
Nouvelle programs at the NFB; the English branch of this project,
Challenge for Change, is, he said, "perhaps pathologically overtheorized
and underwatched." His examples were, on the English side, a 1969 film by
Terrence McCartney-Filgate called UP AGAINST THE SYSTEM not, as you'd
expect from the title, a Newsreel-esque call-to-arms, and closer in style
and tone to Wiseman's WELFARE; and on the French side, a lovely piece
about a northern logging community, the title of which I failed to write
down. (The French projects were chosen by a panel of cinephilic
filmmakers, rather than, as on the English side, by bureaucrats, so they
tended to emphasize subjects that could be beautifully shot.) He intends
this new work on the 60s and 70s which I think is coming out as
articles; he was reading from page proofs to be a kind of updating of
the anthology he edited in 1984, "SHOW US LIFE," which I think of as one
of the best collections of historical essays on documentary; Waugh's
introduction is worth the price of admission. As is his essay on the
post-Stonewall lapse in g/l documentary in BETWEEN THE SHEETS, IN THE
STREETS, which was, if I'm not mistaken, the first Visible Evidence
volume.

> Another example of this is the work of William Greaves, both his own
> personal work and his work with Black Journal. A good number of filmmakers
> came out of Black Journal, but you'd never no it by most written accounts
> of documentary film history or the classes teaching the subject. I've
> attended three doc classes taught at three different institutions, and not
> one ever mentioned Greaves, nor Black Journal.

Yes indeed, excellent point. I wish Greaves would make more of the series
available. I'd much rather have full episodes of Black Journal for use in
teaching and research than the overwatched and undertheorized
SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM.

jk

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