Where's Albania? : staking out the politics of the real and reality in documentary cinema
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This thesis, entitled, "Where's Albania? Staking Out the Politics of the Real and Reality in Documentary Cinema," charts the documentary tradition's path from its first incarnations, as filmed travelogue or ethnographic study, for example, right through to its development as a form acting as an objective observer, reflexive commentator, and finally, as a postmodern hybrid. This thesis begins by locating the documentary tradition's origins in realism. Foregrounding documentary cinema as a realist style is important in that it is a contention that spans this entire study. After working through the numerous modes of documentary as outlined by Bill Nichols, I suggest the documentary is often best understood as a hybrid form drawing on numerous modes and conventions. This argument permits my study to make a shift into postmodern theory, wherein I examine postmodernism's relationship to the documentary both as being influenced by it, but also as subsequently forcing documentary cinema to look back at itself and reevaluate the claims it has made in the past, and how postmodernism has drawn these claims to the surface of debate. My thesis concludes with a study of the mockumentary. This analysis confirms the link between postmodernism and documentary, but perhaps more importantly, this analysis investigates postmodemism's critique of the image and representation in general, two elements historically linked to documentary cinema's success as "truth teller."