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D.A. Pennebaker

D.A. Pennebaker

Keith Beattie
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    D.A. Pennebaker
    Book Description:

    This volume is the first book-length study of the extensive career and prolific works of D.A. Pennebaker, one of the pioneers of direct cinema, a documentary form that emphasizes observation and a straightforward portrayal of events. With a career spanning decades, Pennebaker's many projects have included avant-garde experiments (Daybreak Express), ground-breaking television documentaries (Primary), celebrity films (Dont Look Back), concert films (Monterey Pop), and innovative fusions of documentary and fiction (Maidstone)._x000B__x000B_Exploring the concept of "performing the real," Keith Beattie's insightful analysis interprets Pennebaker's films as performances in which the act of filming is in itself a performative transgression of the norms of purely observational documentary. He examines the ways in which Pennebaker's presentation of unscripted everyday performances is informed by connections between documentary filmmaking and other experimental movements such as the New American Cinema. Through his collaborations with such various artists as Richard Leacock, Shirley Clarke, Norman Mailer, and Jean-Luc Godard, Pennebaker has continually reworked and redefined the forms of documentary filmmaking. This book also includes a recent interview with the director and a full filmography.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09364-7
    Subjects: Film Studies, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Performing the Real
    (pp. 1-128)

    I remember it well. It was early spring, and I was sitting in the Electric Shadows Cinema in Canberra. On the screen, people shouted and gesticulated at each other, laughed, and delivered planned and ad hoc speeches in which they analyzed aspects of contemporary women’s experiences while a heavy-set man, looking alternatively serious, bemused, bewildered, angry, and jovial, attempted to introduce speakers and respond to arguments contained in the speeches. Watching D.A. Pennebaker’sTown Bloody Hall(1979) I too was confronted by varying emotions provoked by a film, shot in grainy black and white, at times poorly lit, and with...

  5. Interview with D.A. Pennebaker
    (pp. 129-142)

    The following interview was conducted by Jonathan Marlow in March 2006 during a tribute to Pennebaker at the Documentary Film Institute (San Francisco).

    jonathan marlow: Your first film,Daybreak Express, is arguably one of the most stunning shorts ever made.

    d.a. pennebaker: I have to freely admit that it owes a little something to [Duke] Ellington!

    jm: At what point did you decide to use Ellington as the springboard?

    dap: I began by wanting to use that song and that’s why the film has no title. It’s known asDaybreak Expressbut that’s the title of the song. I didn’t...

  6. Filmography
    (pp. 143-162)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 163-170)
  8. Index
    (pp. 171-176)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 177-180)