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Documenting CityscapesUrban Change in Contemporary Non-Fiction Film$
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Iván Villarmea Álvarez

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231174534

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231174534.001.0001

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Documentary Film at the Turn of the Century

Documentary Film at the Turn of the Century

(p.28) Chapter Two Documentary Film at the Turn of the Century
Documenting Cityscapes

Iván Villarmea Álvarez

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the development of contemporary documentary theory in the twenty-first century, beginning with the proliferation of documentary films in mainstream cinema and the portrayal of urban spatialities therein. Just as the cinematic city has traditionally been understood as a simple representation of its real counterpart, non-fiction film has also been regarded as a reflection of reality. This approach, however, has shifted in the last decades to the extent that nowadays most film theorists address documentary as a discourse on the real, a line of argument constructed from visual materials that ultimately expresses a point of view on the historical world. The documentary film provides the audience with a window to the historical world that is simultaneously an entrance to its inhabitants' mind, as it takes the viewer to a given time and place to make them understand its contemporary perception and socio-cultural connotations.

Keywords:   contemporary documentary theory, twenty-first century, documentary films, mainstream cinema, cinematic city, urban spatialities

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