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September 1995, Week 3


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Mike Frank <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 20 Sep 1995 17:02:34 -0400
text/plain (42 lines)
On 9/20 Ellen McCracken wrote:
> Let's remember that this montage can work both ways.  An accompanying
> verbal text can anchor the visual image in a different way.  Case in
> point, the Rodney King video viewed in montage with the defense team's
> "voiceover" which argues that the beaten King was really struggling to
> fight back.  Claims about the "objectivity" of a given visual image are
> at the heart of the struggle for ideological dominance and closure over
> interpretation that we all engage in.  More important than the image's
> actual "objectivity," it seems to me is its widespread perceived
> objectivity.  Barthes discusses the problem of the photograph's appearing
> to be a message without a code.
> That said, I would still argue that visual images can provide a whole
> series of clues about reality that verbal utterances can't.  A couple of
> days ago I saw a new documentary video with lengthy footage of the
> Chicano high school "blowouts" of the late 1960s in LA.  No matter how
> many history lectures students listen to or articles they read about
> these walkouts, there's no question that "re-seeing" these events even
> through the non-objective video footage will provide them with a wealth
> of previously unavailable information with which to understand these past
> events.
this is a compelling example, but i wonder whether the force of the
documentary did not come as much from the fact that it was a DOCUMENTARY film
as from the fact that it was a documentary FILM . . . that is, documents,
which are if not unmediated at least commonly read as less mediated than
other texts provide a kind of evidence that more manipulated or "creative"
texts do not . . . and i suspect that a documentary [audio] tape recording
would have more clotu to most audiences in establihsing "truth" than a
non-documentary film
> >
 mike frank [[log in to unmask]]
> > >
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