Date of this Version
This study revisits conversations surrounding the global moment of 1968 and the forms of radical filmmaking that occurred during that time. Focusing on the Newsreel collective and the Dziga Vertov Group from the United States and France respectively—groups that utilized very distinct filmmaking methodologies and produced disparate aesthetics—the study argues that traditional leftist film critique must be rethought by acknowledging the revolutionary opportunities afforded to filmmakers through aesthetic elements like voiceovers or intentionally manipulated relationships between image and sound of specific shots. Instead of judging radical films within a spectrum of revolutionary efficacy, the reflexivity afforded to the filmmaker by stylistic experimentation should be given greater emphasis when critiquing such films. To achieve this, the study relies on the work of Jacque Rancière to produce a conceptual framework capable of reconciling aesthetics and politics, which remains a binary that traditionally has been kept separate by the left. This framework highlights the importance of the sensible—literally what can be heard and seen—for a political moment as defined by Rancière, and further justifies this kind of analysis for the critic of radical films as a result.
Adviser: Marco Abel