Accepted Paper:

Beyond direct cinema (working title)  
Toma Peiu (University of Colorado Boulder) Luiza Parvu (Arizona State University)

Paper short abstract:

Offering case studies from two documentary films currently in post-production, we will discuss how turning away from direct cinema can show human experience beyond the visible and beneath the knowable.

Paper long abstract:

Korean-Russian-American is a poetic journey across New York and Jersey City in the times of COVID-19, guided by the voices of the Russian-speaking Korean Central Asian diaspora. Using 16mm film, soundbites from oral history interviews and soundscapes of labor, transit and community gleaned across the city, this feature film at the boundary of ethnography and speculative fiction pieces together disparate stories of displacement and immigration, and glimpses of life experience to suggest a shared imaginary, based on historical and cultural kinship.

Flying Lessons is a film that started as an observational direct cinema project about tenant rights' activists in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and ended up as an unlikely story of love, death and artistic fellowship in times of political, cultural and economic fracture, between protagonist Philly Abe and director Elizabeth Nichols.

Our presentation will discuss how each of these films evolved from the intention of observation to the possibility to imagine a different world than that which meets the eye.

Panel R05
The limits of observation: ethnofiction and documentary horizons
  Session 1 Friday 10 March, 2023, -