David MacDougall
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The life of others
in The art of the observer
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This chapter explores how documentary films represent the character and life experiences of others. Biographies and autobiographies have their counterparts in documentary cinema, but there are also profound differences between them. Rather than trying to convey a whole life, films more often focus on a narrow segment of their subjects’ lives, and they frequently involve close personal encounters between filmmaker and subject. The author discusses a number of film portraits and the means by which filmmakers portray others through observing their lives and interacting with them directly. A selection of documentary films provides examples for discussion, including several by the author.

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The art of the observer

A personal view of documentary

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