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Free Content Writing with images: The Film-Photo-Essay, the Left Bank Group and the pensive moment

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This article is focused on the film-photo-essay form. The first part of the article is a narrative account of my experiments ‘writing with images’ in the early and mid-2000s, using (the then) new digital tools to make film-photo-essays. My account reflects on how the change from analogue to digital affected my approach to photography, film-making and writing with images. I then look at the case study of Siberia (2009), an illustrated script that was written following my experimentation with the film-photo-essay form. The second part of this article is a more general enquiry into the film-photo-essay form and work that combines cinema and photography. I┬ádiscuss the contemporary interest in work that falls on a spectrum between photography and cinema; often referred to as ‘still/moving’. I then focus on the ‘Left Bank Group’, whose work often combined cinema, photography and the literary and philosophical essay. Examples from the ‘cine-writing’ of Alain Resnais, Agnes Varda and Chris Marker highlight how Raymond Bellour’s idea of the ‘pensive moment’ is apt in relation to their work. I argue that still/moving forms allow more space for audience interaction and emotional response than conventional narrative cinema; and in a world saturated with information and cluttered with images, there is an important place for new pensive hybrid art forms.
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Keywords: digital film-making; documentary; film-photo-essay; photography; screenwriting; writing with images

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Technology Sydney

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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  • The Journal of Screenwriting aims to explore the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, highlighting current academic thinking around scriptwriting whilst also reflecting on this with a truly international perspective and outlook. The journal will encourage the investigation of a broad range of possible methodologies and approaches to studying the scriptwriting form, in particular: the history of the form, contextual analysis, the process of writing for the moving image, the relationship of scriptwriting to the production process and how the form can be considered in terms of culture and society. The journal also aims to encourage research in the field of screenwriting, the linking of scriptwriting practice to academic theory, and to support and promote conferences and networking events on this subject.
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