Cinematic Aesthetics of Resistance: Reframing the Non-fiction Oppositional Film

Book chapter


Daniels, J. 2023. Cinematic Aesthetics of Resistance: Reframing the Non-fiction Oppositional Film. in: Rogers, C., Munro, K., Burke, L. and Gough-Brady, C. (ed.) Constructions of the Real: Intersections of Documentary-Based Film Practice and Theory Bristol Intellect Press. pp. 144-154
AuthorsDaniels, J.
EditorsRogers, C., Munro, K., Burke, L. and Gough-Brady, C.
Abstract

In 2010, Hito Steyerl noted in her article, Aesthetics of Resistance? Artistic Research As Discipline and Conflict, that throughout history moments of extreme conflict and crisis gave rise to the development of a new range of aesthetic approaches to artistic research–including the essayistic documentary film–which may undermine the dominant division of labour. In this chapter, observing that the effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic is likely to lead to increased political and economic crisis, conflict and nationalism I consider Steyerl’s proposition in relation to whether the reflexive oppositional essay film may lead to resistance. I explore contemporary theoretical debates around visual language and subjectivities in the essay film, with reference to the practice of Chantal Akerman, Ken Fero, Thomas Heise, Thi Nguyen, Oliver Ressler and Romana Turina, and my own cinematic mediations of memory, history, place and subjectivities–where I deploy hybrid strategies of critical realism and fictional enactment. I focus on the methodological decisions I took in the construction of an interlinked trilogy of epistolary films Breathing Still, Breathing Still 2020 and Resisters, produced between 2018 and 2020. Located in Berlin and addressed to the revolutionary Marxist, Rosa Luxemburg my aim was to effect spectatorial emotion, reflection and resistance to nationalism. In my aesthetic choices I adopted a method influenced by Alexander Kluge, who compares the production of a film to the creation of a construction site, bringing all the elements together in an order, but by its fragmented nature the film has no definitive closure, thus enabling reflection and the possibility of action (Kluge in Thomas, 2019).

KeywordsDocumentary Essay Film; Aesthetics; Resistance; Research as Practice
Book titleConstructions of the Real: Intersections of Documentary-Based Film Practice and Theory
Page range144-154
Year2023
PublisherIntellect Press
Publication dates
Online14 Apr 2023
Print03 Jul 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Sep 2023
Place of publicationBristol
Edition1
SeriesArtwork Scholarship: International Perspectives in Education
ISBN9781789387438
9781789387452
ISSN2632-9182
Web address (URL)https://www.intellectbooks.com/constructions-of-the-real
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