(film truth) was a documentary film movement developed in France in the 1960s. It took new, light-weight cameras into the world, and attempted to provoke the truth from lived reality. In the US, a linked movement occurred, called direct cinema
that attempted to allow film equipment to capture life unaware, like a fly on the wall. Much contemporary documentary theory
(including my own
) challenges documentary's truth claims.
In semiotics, the study of how signification works, an indexical sig
n is a "mode in which the signifier is not arbitrary but is directly connected in some way (physically or causally) to the signified--this link can be observed or inferred: e.g. 'natural signs' (smoke, thunder, footprints, echoes, non-synthetic odours and flavours), medical symptoms (pain, a rash, pulse-rate), measuring instruments (weathercock, thermometer, clock, spirit-level), 'signals' (a knock on a door, a phone ringing), pointers (a pointing 'index' finger, a directional signpost), recordings (a photograph, a film, video or television shot, an audio-recorded voice), personal 'trademarks' (handwriting, catchphrase) and indexical words ('that', 'this', 'here', 'there')."
Video and film have been used throughout their history to witness
, and document
, atrocities of those in power, as well as "people's history"
of utopian political moments.
Iran's Revolution on Film
: "When millions of Iranians flooded the streets in June 2009 to protest the disputed election, it was all recorded--on video cameras and cell phones. For the West, these grainy amateur images were the only witness to the uprising and the brutal crackdown."
One of my ten founding terms
for this project is PEDAGOGY. Also understood as a matter of access, it is always necessary to consider who is taught to be a mediamaker and with what orientation, skills, and values; and who is taught to be critical of the media, as well.