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Records (re)told: Parallax Filmmaking in Found Footage Documentaries

screen capture from the film: The Dead Nation (Radu Jude, 2015) © HiFilm Productions.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Documentary film, as a form, has the capacity to create an audio-visual indexicality that to the perception of audiences represents marks of veracity. The use of archival or found footage is quite common in documentaries, employed most often to offer a sense of historical authenticity to the subject that is treated. However, in the last decades the prevalence of found footage has become ubiquitous changing the ontology of filmmaking. Focusing on the creative use of archival material in documentary film – an approach that has been in use since the Soviet montage experiments in the 1920s – I will address in this talk the ways in which documentary film(maker)s reuse and reinterpret found footage from a contemporary perspective. By deconstructing the use of both sound and images in these films, I discuss the practices of appropriation of some Eastern European filmmakers of removing the footage from the context it was created, to construct new narratives.