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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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Self-Portrait as Essay Film

Self-Portrait as Essay Film

(p.128) Chapter Seven Self-Portrait as Essay Film
Documenting Cityscapes

Iván Villarmea Álvarez

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the development of self-portraits as essay films—a tradition that includes a wide variety of practices: such as diaries and travelogues, among others. All these essayistic modes offer personal reflections and insights rather than deliver factual reports. The filmmakers who have entered this hybrid domain organise all kinds of visual material guided by their subjectivity, speaking from themselves, but not necessarily about themselves. This subjectivity has affected both form and content, to the extent that social and political issues currently coexist with an emphasis on self-documentation and the private sphere. By shaping real elements through an explicit authorial voice, the essay film extracts, according to Josep Maria Catalá, “the truth and reality of those real elements … a truth and reality that are not outside the dispositif, but inside it, because they are the outcome of the hermeneutic process launched by the dispositif itself.”

Keywords:   self-portraits, essay films, personal reflections, self-documentation, dispositif, hermeneutic process

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