He also taught Writing for Radio at Columbia on a part-time basis. He won a Peabody Award in , for a documentary series, "Words at War. Radio Project , a series of programs created to combat syphilis. The V. Radio Project featured a variety of programming--PSAs, interviews with doctors and patients, soap operas, and "ballad dramas"-- and enlisted the efforts a wide variety of famous men and women in producing those programs, including Alan Lomax , Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
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Barnouw starts out with the early days of cinema when simply capturing life commuters, farm-workers, horse races on film held people mesmerized. Fictional films soon won out, but in the early 20th century we get documentaries such as Nanook of the North that became popular hits. By the s things get more political as communists, fascists and corporations all use film to promote their viewpoint.
Later developments include historical documentaries formed from old film clips and the "talking heads" film with interviews once upon a time that was a new idea. Barnouw does a good job showing trends not only in the US and Western Europe but China and behind the Iron Curtain back when that was a thing. Crystal-clear prose that weaves the development of nonfiction film alongside human history since the late 19th century.
Burnouw has an ability to clarify trends and patterns that is bracingly edifying. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever thought about the ability of film or video to capture and present reality. Jan 13, Mike rated it liked it This is a fine survey of the history of documentary. Due to the nature of the text, it is not able to go into much depth, but it will provide you with an overview of all the relevant documentary movements and personalities up until the mids.
There is also a heavy Western focus with non-Western sources mentioned occasionally. That said, a nice introduction to documentary for those unfamiliar. Sep 25, Amanda rated it liked it Recommends it for: Film buffs Shelves: academic , nonfiction This is a pretty nice survey of documentary film history. Anyone interested in documentary cinema, its forms, its subgenres, its bastard children, and even the question of what documentary cinema is will find this to be a valuable work.
Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film