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Reconstructing the Uncertain Past: Cracked Docudramas That Question Their Own Authority

Reconstructing the Uncertain Past: Cracked Docudramas That Question Their Own Authority Reconstructing the Uncertain Past: Cracked Docudramas That Question Their Own Authority jeff rush Far more unsettling is the way that each [fact-based drama and historical documentary film] compresses the past to a closed world by telling a single, linear story with, essentially, a single interpretation. Such a narrative strategy obviously denies historical alternatives, does away with complexities of motivation or causation, and banishes all subtlety from the world of history. —Robert Rosenstone, “History in Images/History in Words” (1174) more than thirt y ye ars af ter Robert same authority with which a horror film such Rosenstone wrote the preceding words in as Get Out (Jordan Peel, 2017) dramatizes how 1988, the historian and film scholar’s critique the zombified black characters in the Armitage still describes the contemporary fact-based household have been transformed by un- will drama and its subset, the docudrama, a fact- ing brain transplantation. based drama about public events, upon which There is a small subset of docudramas, this article will focus. What might be called however, that use more tentative rhetorical traditional docudramas include films such techniques to tell fictional stories while also as The Post (Steven Spielberg, 2017), Apollo raising questions of how we understand http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

Reconstructing the Uncertain Past: Cracked Docudramas That Question Their Own Authority

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 74 (1) – Apr 6, 2022

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
ISSN
1934-6018

Abstract

Reconstructing the Uncertain Past: Cracked Docudramas That Question Their Own Authority jeff rush Far more unsettling is the way that each [fact-based drama and historical documentary film] compresses the past to a closed world by telling a single, linear story with, essentially, a single interpretation. Such a narrative strategy obviously denies historical alternatives, does away with complexities of motivation or causation, and banishes all subtlety from the world of history. —Robert Rosenstone, “History in Images/History in Words” (1174) more than thirt y ye ars af ter Robert same authority with which a horror film such Rosenstone wrote the preceding words in as Get Out (Jordan Peel, 2017) dramatizes how 1988, the historian and film scholar’s critique the zombified black characters in the Armitage still describes the contemporary fact-based household have been transformed by un- will drama and its subset, the docudrama, a fact- ing brain transplantation. based drama about public events, upon which There is a small subset of docudramas, this article will focus. What might be called however, that use more tentative rhetorical traditional docudramas include films such techniques to tell fictional stories while also as The Post (Steven Spielberg, 2017), Apollo raising questions of how we understand

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Apr 6, 2022

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