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Recording Reality, Desiring the Real$
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Elizabeth Cowie

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816645480

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816645480.001.0001

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Introduction: The Spectacle of Actuality and the Desire for Reality

Introduction: The Spectacle of Actuality and the Desire for Reality

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: The Spectacle of Actuality and the Desire for Reality
Source:
Recording Reality, Desiring the Real
Author(s):

Elizabeth Cowie

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816645480.003.0001

This introductory chapter examines how documentary films enable the spectator to understand and experience reality through recorded images and sounds. The documentary selection and ordering of the images and sounds of reality provide objective knowledge about the world; however, this could lead to a loss of sense of reality. This issue arises from distinct and apparently contradictory desires of spectators regarding film viewing—desire for reality as knowledge and desire for reality as spectacle. The chapter addresses this paradox, and examines the interrelationship and interdependence of spectacle, voice, and identification in the film.

Keywords:   spectators, documentary films, reality, images, sounds, film viewing

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