The Garden in the Machine
A Field Guide to Independent Films About Place
By (author) Scott MacDonald
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Garden in the Machine by Scott MacDonald
Book DescriptionThe Garden in the Machine explores the evocations of place, and particularly American place, that have become so central to the representational and narrative strategies of alternative and mainstream film and video. Scott MacDonald contextualizes his discussion with a wide-ranging and deeply informed analysis of the depiction of place in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, painting, and photography. Accessible and engaging, this book examines the manner in which these films represent nature and landscape in particular, and location in general. It offers us both new readings of the films under consideration and an expanded sense of modern film history. Among the many antecedents to the films and videos discussed here are Thomas Cole's landscape painting, Thoreau's Walden, Olmsted and Vaux's Central Park, and Eadweard Muybridge's panoramic photographs of San Francisco. MacDonald analyzes the work of many accomplished avant-garde filmmakers: Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, James Benning, Stan Brakhage, Nathaniel Dorsky, Hollis Frampton, Ernie Gehr, Larry Gottheim, Robert Huot, Peter Hutton, Marjorie Keller, Rose Lowder, Marie Menken, J.J. Murphy, Andrew Noren, Pat O'Neill, Leighton Pierce, Carolee Schneemann, and Chick Strand. He also examines a variety of recent commercial feature films, as well as independent experiments in documentary and such contributions to independent video history as George Kuchar's Weather Diaries and Ellen Spiro's Roam Sweet Home. MacDonald reveals the spiritual underpinnings of these works and shows how issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and class are conveyed as filmmakers attempt to discover forms of Edenic serenity within the Machine of modern society. Both personal and scholarly, The Garden in the Machine will be an invaluable resource for those interested in investigating and experiencing a broader spectrum of cinema in their teaching, in their research, and in their lives.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520227385
(235mm x 156mm x 20mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 18-Dec-2001
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Scott MacDonald
Avant-Doc, Hardback (November 2014)
With in-depth interviews of directors like Nina Davenport, Ross McElwee, Ed Pincus, and others, Avant-Doc provides a unique oral history of the hybrid genre of nonfiction film that combines the techniques of avant-garde auteurs with the more traditional methods of conventional storytelling.
American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary, Paperback (July 2013)
Tells the history of American filmmakers crucial to the development of ethnographic film and personal documentary. By exploring the cinematic, personal, and professional relationships between these accomplished filmmakers, MacDonald shows how an approach to documentary developed over the past half century.
Adventures of Perception, Paperback (August 2009)» View all books by Scott MacDonald
A collection of thematically related personal essays and conversations with filmmakers. It takes us on a journey into many under-explored territories of cinema. It illuminates topics including race and avant-garde film, the political implications of the nature film, and the inventive single shot films of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
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Author Biography - Scott MacDonald
Scott MacDonald teaches at Bard College. He is currently at work on volume 4 of A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers (volumes 1, 2, and 3 available from California). He is the author of Avant-Garde Film/Motion Studies (1993) and editor of Screen Writings: Scripts and Texts by Independent Filmmakers (California, 1995).
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