American Documentary Film: Projecting the Nation

American Documentary Film: Projecting the Nation

By: Jeffrey Geiger (author)Paperback

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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

About Author

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.


1. Novelties, Spectacles, and the Documentary Impulse - Case Studies: Blacksmithing Scene (1893), Buffalo Dance (1894), and Mess Call (1896); 2. Virtual Travels and the Tourist Gaze - Case Study: Nanook of the North (1922); 3. Serious Play: Documentary and the Early Avant-garde - Case Study: Manhatta (1921); 4. Activism and Advocacy: The Depression Era - Case Study: The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936); 5. Idea-Weapons: Documentary Propaganda - Case Study: The Memphis Belle (1944); 6. 'Uncontrolled' Situations: Direct Cinema - Case Study: Grey Gardens (1975); 7. Relative Truths: Documentary and Postmodernity - Case Study: Tongues Untied (1989); 8. Media Wars: Documentary Dispersion - Case Study: Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780748621484
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 288
  • ID: 9780748621484
  • ISBN10: 0748621482

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