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Engaging the Moving Image$
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Noël Carroll

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300091953

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300091953.001.0001

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Nonfiction Film and Postmodernist Skepticism

Nonfiction Film and Postmodernist Skepticism

(p.165) Chapter 8 Nonfiction Film and Postmodernist Skepticism
Engaging the Moving Image

Noël Carroll

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses an area of film theory that invokes philosophy so quickly and readily—the discussion of nonfiction film. For inasmuch as a great many nonfiction films are meant to convey information about the world, film theorists are almost immediately disposed to reach for their favorite epistemological convictions in order to assess and dispute the knowledge claims of nonfiction films. Among film theorists in times gone by, it was a popular sport to charge that insofar as nonfiction films unavoidably require selectivity, then the pretensions of nonfiction filmmakers to deliver objective information about the world and to advance justifiable claims thereof are decisively vitiated. For selectivity guarantees bias, and since motion picture technology is inherently and necessarily selective, it is necessarily biased.

Keywords:   film theory, philosophy, nonfiction film, film theorists, selectivity, bias, postmodernist skepticism, motion picture

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