Berlinale 2014. Essayist, Essay Isn’t

  • MUBI
The democratization of art—to continue recent preoccupations—has enabled a proliferation of essay films in recent years. It’s not difficult to see why: though anybody may now be able to pick up and point a camera, assembling the cast and crew, and securing the funding and resources, with which to complete a narrative film continues to be a whole other matter.

Consequently, there has always been a do-it-yourself aspect to the essay film, and many filmmakers have taken it up as a means by which to position themselves against a more vertically integrated industry. The essay film’s popularity among filmmakers of marginalized identity is no coincidence: female and feminist filmmakers, homosexual filmmakers, transgender filmmakers, filmmakers of color and other artists informed in some way by a political and/or social oppression. There’s something potentially radical about the essayistic form.

None of which is to say any
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