Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation examines experimental works in the late 1960s utilizing technologies and techniques connected with direct cinema and cinema vérité models of documentary filming. Focusing on three experimental filmmakers, I show how films by Jonas Mekas, Robert Fulton and William Greaves eschew the austere style associated with observational realism of direct cinema in favor of more ostentatious experimental assembly practices which highlight the role of the filmmaker as artist. I argue for a relational model of assessment in which documentary film’s qualitative renderings of environment become important determinants of documentary integrity and efficacy. With separate chapters focusing on works by Jonas Mekas, William Greaves, and Robert Fulton, Capturing Contingency shows how these experimental documentary filmmakers employ creative uses of sound, split-screen, superimposition and process methodologies to access the qualities of observational cinema motivating the founders of direct cinema: what Richard Leacock called, “the feeling of being there.”
Zemel, Dustin Reed, "Capturing Contingency: Experimental Documentary in the Wake of Direct Cinema" (2019). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 4970.
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