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D.A. Pennebaker

Keith Beattie

Publication Year: 2011

This volume is the first book-length study of the extensive career and prolific works of D.A. Pennebaker, one of the pioneers of direct cinema, a documentary form that emphasizes observation and a straightforward portrayal of events. With a career spanning decades, Pennebaker's many projects have included avant-garde experiments (Daybreak Express), ground-breaking television documentaries (Primary), celebrity films (Dont Look Back), concert films (Monterey Pop), and innovative fusions of documentary and fiction (Maidstone)._x000B__x000B_Exploring the concept of "performing the real," Keith Beattie's insightful analysis interprets the ways in which Pennebaker's presentation of unscripted everyday performances is informed by connections between documentary filmmaking and other experimental movements such as the New American Cinema. Through his collaborations with such various artists as Richard Leacock, Shirley Clarke, Norman Mailer, and Jean-Luc Godard, Pennebaker has continually reworked and redefined the forms of documentary filmmaking. This book also includes a recent interview with the director and a full filmography.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Contemporary Film Directors

Title Page, Copyright, Frontispiece, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I would like to thank James Naremore, director of the Contemporary Film Directors series, for his support of this book; Joan Catapano, Daniel Nassett, Tad Ringo, and Mary M. Hill at the University of Illinois Press for their attention to the manuscript; and Jonathan Marlow for permission to reprint his interview with D.A. Pennebaker. ...

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Performing the Real

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pp. 1-21

I remember it well. It was early spring, and I was sitting in the Electric Shadows Cinema in Canberra. On the screen, people shouted and gesticulated at each other, laughed, and delivered planned and ad hoc speeches in which they analyzed aspects of contemporary women’s experiences while a heavy-set man, ...

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Concert Film

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pp. 21-51

The Red Shoes, made by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1948, is a film about performance. The narrative revolves around the ways in which the bodies of performers respond to and are manipulated and transported by the desire to perform. ...

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Collaborative Filmmaking

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pp. 51-79

Documentary filmmaking has, since its inception, dominantly been a collaborative enterprise. Joris Ivens reinforced this point in his seminal account of documentary practice, The Camera and I: “‘The day of the one-man documentary is over.’ . . . Any film, including any documentary, has so many sides to its content and its expression ...

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pp. 79-107

The art historian E. H. Gombrich, describing the effect on the viewer of a portrait painted by Rembrandt, wrote: “We feel face to face with real people, we sense their warmth, their need for sympathy and also their loneliness and suffering” (332). ...

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pp. 107-128

Anything acted is, to varying degrees, rehearsed. Rehearsals provide a broad set of guidelines within which actors consider actions and responses relevant to the particular parameters of a specific production. Rehearsal implies repetition of known or recognizable actions, behaviors, and gests. ...

Interview with D.A. Pennebaker

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pp. 129-142


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pp. 143-162


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pp. 163-170


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pp. 171-176

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About the Author, Further Reading, Publication Information

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Keith Beattie is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Melbourne, and the author of Documentary Screens: Non-fiction Film and Television; Documentary Display: Re-Viewing Nonfiction Film and Video; ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780252093647
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252036590

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Contemporary Film Directors