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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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“Words of Command”

“Words of Command”

Cultural and Political Inflections of Direct Cinema in Indian Independent Documentary (1990)

Chapter:
(p.239) 9 “Words of Command”
Source:
The Right to Play Oneself
Author(s):

Thomas Waugh

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816645862.003.0009

This chapter examines the production of “Third World Cinemas” in India. It discusses the considerable attention to nonfiction images given by Euro-American image makers in representing Third World societies in films. These first world or “northern” independent filmmakers who make images of the third world or “southern” fall into three main camps: the left solidarity advocates; the ethnographers; and occidental tourists. The chapter also addresses the specific and distinctive aspects of Indian cinema which included variations in direct cinema and structure on a microcosmic level. It argues that these variations in the direct cinema lexicon form the trope called the “collective interview” or the “talking group”, symbolically representative of the independent documentary current. This notion is clearly demonstrated in three films which are analyzed: Voices from Baliapal, The Sacrifice of Babulal Bhuiya, and Bombay Our City.

Keywords:   Third World Cinemas, Indian cinema, left solidarity advocates, ethnographers, occidental tourists, direct cinema, collective interview, talking group, independent documentary

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