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The Right to Play OneselfLooking Back on Documentary Film$
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Thomas Waugh

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816645862

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816645862.001.0001

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Beyond Vérité

Beyond Vérité

Emile de Antonio (1977; 2008)

(p.93) 5 Beyond Vérité
The Right to Play Oneself

Thomas Waugh

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the nature of American documentary films of the 1970s and emphasizes their departure from the cinéma vérité traditional impulse that dominated the 1960s. It discusses three distinct currents of dissident filmmaking during the Vietnam War. The first was based on a series of controversial television documentaries that aired on PBS and commercial networks, such as Banks and the Poor. The second was based on efforts by a number of New Left Movement filmmakers to compensate for the media blackout of the Vietnam War. These documentaries originally came from Newsreel, an organization whose strategy of polarization and confrontation differed from the stance of socially conscious journalism. They initiated a tradition of alternate radical documentary that focused on the networks of radical communities located across youth urban and campus centers. The third was established by filmmaker Emile de Antonio who targeted the intellectual middle class.

Keywords:   American documentary films, cinéma vérité, dissident filmmaking, Vietnam War, Banks and the Poor, New Left Movement, Emile de Antonio, Newsreel, polarization, confrontation

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