The canons of capturing reality in the documentary cinema of the 1960s

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The essay deals with the problems of new expressive means that appeared in Soviet documentaries in the late 1950s — 1960s. It analyzes the main expressive means of capturing the new screen reality on examples of Castles in the Sand (dir. Yakov Bronstein and Algimantas Vidugiris), Katyusha (dir. Viktor Lisakovich), Marina’s Life (dir. Leonid Kvinikhidze), Look at the Face (dir. Pavel Kogan), and Nikolai Amosov (dir. Taimuraz Zoloev). Its main interests are plastic solutions, the frame structure, the designation of the object of shooting and the author's presence in the interframe space or inside the frame; changes in the attitudes of the author and the protagonists, the author’s attention to personality, and the expressiveness of human presence in the film.

The essay discusses the existential and philosophical components of the documentary films of that period, as well as changes in the aesthetic and ideological pictures of the world, which influenced the principle of capturing reality and the concept of authenticity. Documentaries of the Thaw are viewed via the formation of new canons of capturing screen reality, including new capturing techniques (hidden camera, habitual camera, method of provocation), principles of intraframe editing and new space-time frame characteristics. The principles of intraframe editing, new spatial and temporal characteristics of the frame are presented in the progressive analysis of assembly phrases and the compositional structure of the frame of films. The author examines the principles of the formation of the protagonists' characters, the positioning of a person within the frame and the general stylistic paradigm of documentary genres. Taking as examples film portraits, film essays and polemical films, the essay explores novel means of forming spectator paradigms in the documentaries of the Thaw within the context of the author’s attitude towards the selected material and the protagonist.

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Bezenkova Maria V.

PhD in Arts, Associate Professor, Film Studies Department

All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography named after S.A. Gerasimova
, Vilgelma Pika, 3, Moscow city, 129226

Author for correspondence.


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