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The looking machineEssays on cinema, anthropology and documentary filmmaking$
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David MacDougall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134097

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526134097.001.0001

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Camera, mind and eye

Camera, mind and eye

(p.24) 3 Camera, mind and eye
The looking machine

David MacDougall

Manchester University Press

This chapter argues that written and spoken language do not accurately convey how we actually think, or even how language presents itself in our minds. The ways images are organised in films also fail to represent accurately how we see and how we process mental images. The conventions of language and film are partly responsible for this, but the author argues that it is sometimes possible for individual artists to break the rules, bringing films closer to portraying the realities of conscious experience. For example, filmmakers such as Flaherty, Godard, and Hitchcock are able to construct new and distinctive ways of looking at the world. Referring to the work of the anthropologist and filmmaker Ivo Strecker and art critic Norman Bryson, the chapter closes with a discussion of the uses of the short and long take in nonfiction cinema, comparing these with the glance and the gaze in human perception.

Keywords:   vision, perception, language, mind, filmmaking, film theory, documentary

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