From: Bernard Roddy (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jun 05 2007 - 10:23:01 PDT
Gene and friends, the term "diary film" invites comparison with the personal journal, but no image comes back from script or text. If we colllect together films in which an individual addresses the camera, we can ask what are the various purposes for this, and how is reception by an audience affected by contextual issues of recording, such as the gender or race of the artist.
Ursula Biemann edited a book, Stuff It, published in 2003 by Institute fur Theorie Gestaltung und Kunst Zurich, that includes an "interview" with Walid Ra'ad about his tape, Hostage: The Bachar Tapes. Ra'ad adopts the persona of a hostage, Bachar, who was confined to the cell that held the five Americans that Reagan negotiated with Iran over. Reagan's administration publically denounced governments that negotiated with nations that supported terrorists. Reagan had also diverted profits from the arms sales to the Contras, the organized thugs attempting to oust the Sandinista government in Nicaragua at the time, and the support for which Congress had outlawed.
But in the interview Ra'ad (as "Bachar") makes clear that he is most interested in the personal accounts of the incarceration that each American hostage published separately after his release. Apparently, each of the five books emphasize personal observations to the neglect of any serious consideration of the social and political factors accounting for their incarceration. In addition, there is a wife or girlfriend for each former-hostage who speaks to any anxieties about threats to current heterosexist culture. Thus, Ra'ad's own "diary film" places him in the position of a hostage left in the cell, without a published account, the only brown hostage in the group.
Smokin' diary film!
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