• What is an essay film?

Unorthodox, personal, reflexive documentaries.

It is a hybrid, somewhere in between fiction and nonfiction.

Essay is personal investigation, the author uses both his passion and his intellect.

It is avant-garde film impulse. Can I mix different styles? If I make it personal will it still be understandable for the audience? What kind of methods I used to express my ideas?

For Aldous Huxley, it “is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything”

  • Essential: reflectivity and subjectivity

… as Good writes, “The essay aims, in other words, to preserve something of the process of thinking”

The essay film is not defining by strong personal presence, but it is ‘social subjectivity’ which means the individual behind the camera identifies with the audience.

Caméra-stylo – scriptwriter and filmmaker become one. Relationship between text and image.

  • Phillip Lopate: “An essay film must have words, in the form of a text, either spoken, subtitled, or intertitled” and audience must feel true conversation with the filmmaker.
  • Textual commitment: “I am going to share with you my personal musing about this” – it is personal reflection on a problem/s. The person who watches is invited to enter into a dialogue.
  • Literary essay has only one voice channel which transform into image, speech, music in film essay. The voice can be contrapuntal, ironic, polemical.


Reference: The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments. Laura Rascaroli


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