Essay on Artifice and Self-Reflexivity in Non-Fiction Film

Essay on Artifice and Self-Reflexivity in Non-Fiction Film

Length: 2697 words (7.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Doubling Reality: Artifice and Self-Reflexivity in Non-Fiction Film

The non-fiction film is the original creation at the crossroad between
cinema and authenticity. It is traditionally considered to be the truest of any art
form by focusing on perceived reality, whereas fictional narratives necessarily
fabricate conscious experiences for the application of style and meaning.
Documentary films have a considerably more complex signification than fictional
works because they propose the viewer’s reality as the film’s diegesis, two areas
that are disparate in works of fiction. The ultimate goal of non-fiction film must be
to come as close to portraying reality as possible. There exists, however, a great
deal of deception in the act of conjuring or doubling reality for a filmic endeavor.
This deceptive practice combines and confuses the two realms. Non-fiction films
use ambiguous or duplicated reality as a theme to cast self-reflexive awareness
on the cinematic processes. (Nichols 12-15)
The question of objectivity arises in this pursuit as it does in any
expressive form. The very essence of what the viewer believes himself to see is
constantly challenged by a suspected subjectivity. Since the angle or distance at
which something is seen can change its entire meaning, it is quite possible that
reality is impossible to obtain in any circumstance. The theories of Roland
Barthes, a 20th century literary critic, are the basis for the dilemma posed by the
possible conflicts of the camera and what is real. He explains the photograph as
something that “always carries its referent with itself.” He goes on to say that
because of this relationship, the image is a constant reminder of that which it
represents. For Barthes, ...

... middle of paper ...

...ambiguous relationship
between reality and diegetic authenticity.

Sources Cited
Barsam, Richard M. Non-Fiction Film: A Critical History. Bloomington, IN: Indiana
University Press, 1992.
Domarchi, Jean and Jacwques Doniol-Valcroze, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Kast,
Jacques Rivette, and Eric Rohmer. Hiroshima, Notre Amour. Cahiers du
Cinema: The 1950’s, Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave. Ed. Jim Hillier.
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1985. pp 59-70.
Nichols, Bill. Representing Reality. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press,
Nichols, Bill. Blurred Boundaries. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press,
1994. pp 117-121.
Renov, Michael. Theorizing Documentary. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing,
Small, Edward S. Direct Theory: Experimental Film/Video as a Major Genre.
Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1994.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice

- Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice by Marge Piercy     "A clever trick, crafty device, or stratagem" is how Webster's Encyclopedia of Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines Artifice. Marge Piercy definitely used "crafty" techniques in writing "A Work of Artifice." In this poem, Piercy reflects on the growth of a bonsai tree, considering the molded existence of what it is to what it could have naturally been. With deeper analysis of this poem, the correlation between a bonsai tree and the shaped role of women within society becomes evident....   [tags: Work Artifice]

Better Essays
974 words (2.8 pages)

Self-Reflexivity in Othello Essay

- Self-reflexivity, or a `self-reflexive' text can be defined as a structure which `looks back at itself ... and which sometimes breaks the boundaries between itself and the world' . Similarly a piece of self-reflexive work can also allow a text or a play to make an audience or reader aware that what they watch, or read, is actually not `real life' but instead a representation. To fully grasp this concept of self-reflexivity, we should perhaps look at what some people suggest as the opposite of such a device: the `Classical Hollywood Narrative' is a technique used in most films to deceive the viewer into believing that what they are witnessing is indeed real life....   [tags: European Literature]

Free Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Personal Response to Marge Piercy's A Work of Artifice Essay

- Personal Response to Marge Piercy's A Work of Artifice My initial response to "A Work of Artifice" by Marge Piercy, was one of profound sadness. In defining myself as the actual reader of this poem, my background becomes significant in my emotional response. "It is this reader who comes to the text shaped by cultural and personal norms and prejudices." (Bressler, p. 72) I come from a family of poets and published writers and have been reading and composing poetry since the age of 4. My first poem was published in the local newspaper, in which I won first prize, at age 5....   [tags: Work of Artifice Essays]

Free Essays
1323 words (3.8 pages)

The Key of Reflexivity Essay

- The Key of Reflexivity What gives me the right to judge. As a studying anthropologist, what constitutes me the right to study “Others” and proclaim my perception of the “studied” is correct. Since the development of writing, authors have fell victim to their own misconceptions of a studied group or culture. Even I, right now as I type away at this keyboard am judging and studying the works of other authors. Whether I take a critical or a supportive view of the writings is obsolete, what matters is how my personal life experiences as a studying anthropologist can lead to legitimate findings....   [tags: Ethnography Anthropology Essays]

Free Essays
1119 words (3.2 pages)

Reflexivity in Ethnographic Research and Writing Essay

- Reflexivity in Ethnographic Research and Writing The role of reflexivity in ethnographic research and writing has certain advantages and limits, as it gives the discipline of anthropology another form of interpreting ethnographies. Reflexivity, in terms of work of anthropology, is to insist that anthropologists systematically and rigorously reveal their methodology and themselves as the instrument of data generation. It is the self-consciousness or the work's ability to see itself as a work. There are various styles of reflexivity in ethnographic writing and Dorinne Kondo, Renato Rosaldo, and George Marcus are three anthropologists that influenced the role of reflexivity through their ethn...   [tags: Ethnography Anthropology Essays]

Free Essays
1614 words (4.6 pages)

Use of Reflexivity in Ethnographic Research Essay

- Use of Reflexivity in Ethnographic Research Works Cited Missing The use of reflexivity in ethnographic research and writing is used to insist that the anthropologist has systematically and rigorously revealed their methodology and their self as the instrument of data collection and generation. Reflexivity can play a variety of roles in ethnographic writings as observed in the works of Renato Rosaldo, Dorinne Kondo, and Ruth Behar. These three anthropologists all use reflexivity in different ways to convey their findings and feelings....   [tags: Anthropology Culture Ethnography Papers]

Free Essays
991 words (2.8 pages)

The Role of Reflexivity in Ethnography Essay

- The Role of Reflexivity in Ethnography Reflexivity, as I understand it, is very well named.It is the practice of reflecting upon oneself and one’s work, of being self-aware and self-critical. In anthropology, it is well exemplified by the work of Renato Rosaldo, Ruth Behar, and Dorinne Kondo, among others. In its most obvious form (or at least the form most obvious to me), reflexivity is manifest in the practice of an ethnographer including herself in her own ethnographic research---seeing herself not as an “unbiased, impartial” (Malinowski 18) observer, but as an essential and un-removable part of her study....   [tags: Anthropology Science Essays]

Better Essays
1389 words (4 pages)

Reflexivity Essay

- Reflexivity Anthropologists research and write. They participate and observe in order to produce ethnographies. While some anthropologists venture to “exotic” lands to study the “natives,” others conduct ethnographic research within their own culture. Despite the diverse cultures they examine and the use of a tape recorder instead of a pen and a notebook, the ethnographic process is virtually the same. Or is it. Although similarities between ethnographies exist, when it comes down to it, ethnographies differ from one anthropologist to the next and one culture to the next based on the writing techniques applied by the ethnographer, the position of the anthropologist (age, gender, class, cul...   [tags: Enthnography Anthropology Essays]

Free Essays
1257 words (3.6 pages)

Reflexivity Essay

- Reflexivity When an ethnographer examines a group of people, she is influenced by her position and understanding of her own culture. Before an ethnographer even begins her research, her opinion is effecting the process of selecting a topic. For instance, Anthropology’s most commonly known researcher Bronslow Malinowsky wrote the Argonauts of the Western Pacific. He did not choose to study a culture similar to his own because of the interest he had in the ‘exotic’. His preferences told him to pick a more remote group of people, the Trobriand Islanders....   [tags: Renato Resaldo Ethnographer Anthropology Essays]

Better Essays
1135 words (3.2 pages)

Reflexivity: Crossing That Line Essay

- Reflexivity: Crossing That Line Traditionally, ethnographic works had always been about objective studies of the “other.” The discipline attempts to use non-biased methods to research of our subjects to qualify anthropology into the category of science. However, an increasing number of anthropologists begin to question the existence of objectivity in fieldwork. More recently, some anthropologists advocate the incorporation of the self, or the use of reflexivity, in the research to acknowledge our biases; at the same time, enhance the quality of our ethnographies....   [tags: Ethnography Anthropology Essays]

Better Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)