Documentary Film Panel

Now that I’m done calculating grades, I’ve been looking ahead to future projects, including the film panel I will be organizing at next year’s SAMLA conference here in Atlanta. It will probably come as no surprise that I’ve decided to focus the panel around the theme of documentary cinema (and don’t worry, I’m not a stickler for medium specificity; reality TV qualifies here). I’ll post the specifics later, but I sent off a rough version of the call for papers to the SAMLA office just a few minutes ago.

While organizing the panel, I had the good fortune of stumbling across Chris’s post, “In the Year of the Documentary,” which I read as a very useful analysis of the renewed prominence of the genre. At some point, I’d like to untangle Chris’s claim that the documentary reniassance might in some way be tied to a “return of totality,” but for now, I’ll start with a link. Chris is right that it’s easy to generalize and make sweeping claims about the new popularity of the documentary (I’m sure similar pronouncements greeted the appearance of The Thin Blue Line and Roger and Me within a year of each other in 1988-89), but I think there’s something worth investigating in this contemporary return to the real, no matter how fabricated that real actually is.

Speaking of documentary, does anyone else find it sad that this version of The Thin Blue Line has been released on DVD, while this version sits sadly on the shelf waiting to be released?

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