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Even though essay films have been a key practice since the 1950s, there is scant analysis about this form in English. Part of this is likely due to the inherent difficulty of definition. The films, which foreground subjectivity and adopt an explicit, personal approach to their subject matter, can look and feel very different from one another. Their coherence as a group, however, comes into focus when contextualized as part of the larger tradition from which they draw. By looking to the literary and philosophical lineage of the essay form, Corrigan brings new clarity to a practice that, arguably, is one of the most common and successful in contemporary film culture. The Essay Film situates its investigation in the literary tradition of essayists such as Montaigne, Barthes, and Huxley before moving to an expansive discussion of filmmakers such as Derek Jarman, Allan Clark, Werner Herzog, Harun Farocki, Chantal Akerman, Chris Marker, Errol Morris, Nanni Moretti, Agn#xE8;s Varda, Ross McElwee, Abbas Kiarostami, Raoul Ruiz, Lynne Sachs, and Trinh T. Minh-ha.
Timothy Corrigan is Professor of Cinema Studies, English, and History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of New German Film and A Cinema without Walls and an editor of Critical Visions in Film Theory.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Of Film and the Essayistic Part I: Toward the Essay Film Chapter One. One Thoughts Occasioned by . . .Montaigne to Marker Chapter Two. Of the History of the Essay Film: from Vertov, to Varda Part II: Essayistic Thinking Chapter Three. About Portraying Expression: The Essay Film as Inter-view Chapter Four. To Be Elsewhere: Cinematic Excursions on Essayistic Travel Chapter Five. On Essayistic Diaries: Or, the Velocities of Non-Peace Chapter Six. Of the Currency of Events: The Essay Film as Editorial Chapter Seven. About Refractive Cinema: When Films Interrogate Films Works Cited Index