Toward a Cognitive Definition of First-Person Documentary

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    Abstract

    In contemporary documentary practice, we witness a dominant trend of films that abandon the longstanding ideal of objectivity in favor of more diverse and subjective perspectives on reality. Blurring the boundaries between subject and filmmaker, first person documentaries invite us to critically reflect on the processes by which viewers distinguish nonfiction from fiction. This chapter posits that such assessments depend on the cognitive principle of framing, with viewers drawing on a wide array of textual, contextual, and real-world cues to construe a film as documentary or otherwise. First person films could be understood as a sub-frame of documentary that comes with its own set of expectations and unique emotional affects. This is demonstrated through a case study of Kirsten Johnson’s 2016 Cameraperson.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCognitive Theory and Documentary Film
    EditorsCatalin Brylla, Mette Kramer
    PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
    Chapter13
    Pages223-242
    Number of pages20
    Edition1
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-90332-3
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-90331-6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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