Yep, running late this week. This is a ‘high’ academic paper, which means a cinema studies paper written in the style beloved of cinema and cultural studies. Some complicated bits. However, it is useful because it is another essay that discusses how to classify something (in this case ‘essay’ films) – you can see that academics can spend plenty of time arguing about what things mean, my refrain this semester is, has been, will be, let’s think about what things do then worry about what they mean – and that she tends to argue that if you end up with a definition as complex and vague as you need for an essay film, then it just gets a bit much really. Why read it then? Well, note how we can think of the essay film as a particular sort of conversation between your material and your audience – this matters much more than whether it is film, voice, image, picture, text. As we learn the basics of Korsakow the next step, and the point of the rather rote learning we’re doing at the moment, is to make something more complex. So how can we think of the Korsakow project you will start shortly as an ‘essay’? And what sort of documentary is an essay, with its combination of the subjective, personal, reflective, and reflexive. Along with that particular list we can also begin to think about a Korsakow film as an essay, but not only an essay between the ‘film’ and the audience/user, but also as a conversation it can have amongst itself. As clips can now exist in different, multiple relationships, with each other we can think of this as being like a conversation that the parts of the film can have with itself, while simultaneously having some sort of conversation with your audience.
The reading is: Rascaroli, Laura. “The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments.” Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media 49.2 (2008): 24–47. (PDF).