Braided Channels: A genealogy of the voice of documentary
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Voice is a concept that is a metaphoric proxy for authorship in a wide range of areas of human creativity. In the area of documentary filmmaking, Bill Nichols' conception of voice has been pre-eminent, dating from a 1983 essay 'The Voice of Documentary' that has been frequently republished since. This paper argues that Nichols' conception of documentary voice requires revision to take account of shifts in: the genres of documentary in relation to other cultural formations; the surrounding (cross) cultural politics; and the way that the concept of 'voice' appears when viewed from the perspective of a reflective practitioner rather than from that of a media studies theorist. The work develops a vocabulary of voice to account for the relationship between the documentary filmmaker and other categories, including subjects, audiences and broadcasters. In particular the category of 'choric voice' is developed, applying perspectives derived from a study of the classical Greek chorus to documentary.
Studies in Documentary Film
© 2009 Intellect Ltd . This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Film and Television