Handcrafting memories: an ethnography of family cinema production
Alex Vailati (Federal University of Pernambuco)
Paper short abstract:
Aim of this study is to explore the practice of family film production and, in particular, elites' weddings films. It is based on fieldwork conducted in the metropolitan region of Recife, one of the largest state capital cities in Brazil's Northeast.
Paper long abstract:
Considered to be residual productions by film critics, so-called social- or family-films have become an emblematic object of anthropological research, as well as a consistent field of audio-visual production. From a commercial perspective, the production of videos about weddings, birthdays or other moments considered to be significant to families or social groups have become an important market segment, where professional skills are constantly called upon and new formal modals regularly developed. This important field of study, which from a perspective of the social sciences and cinematographic criticism only becomes relevant though the lens of time, is essential for reflecting on how future memories are produced. The objective of this study is to explore the practice of family film production. Two principal perspectives mark the study and are intimately connected: the first is related to the choice of the ritual moment to be analysed and the second delimits the social group examined. Considering that this study was conducted in the metropolitan region of Recife, one of the largest state capital cities in Brazil's Northeast, which suffers great inequality of wealth and power, it became fundamental to focus the study on urban elites. The family film thus became a window to enter this world, where access by anthropologists is normally restricted.
Negotiating imaginaries: explorations of vernacular audiovisual production