Assaying the essay: science documentary and self-portrait
Williams, Richard Glenn
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Documentaries about science have long relied on expository and observational modes of filmmaking to perpetuate a pretense of objectivity and authenticity. I contend that these claims on objectivity are false, and that other modes, specifically the self-portrait essay, can more authentically communicate scientific principles. This paper examines case studies of science-related self-portrait films that foreground subjectivity and reflexivity to varying degrees, and analyzes their effectiveness. I argue that the self-portrait essay film and its rejection of objectivity is a compelling alternative to conventional science documentary.
Sweat of the sun: a film essay on fire essay is a DVD accompanying the thesis.