Revisioning Film Traditions - The Pseudo-Documentary and the Neo-Western

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From the seeds planted by the Lumiere Brothers and Edwin S. Porter have sprung films like The Blair Witch Project and Lone Star, contemporary representations of what can be seen as outgrowths of documentary and Western film, now reconstituted as pseudo-documentary and Neo-Western. Author and filmmaker Del Jacobs traces the emergence of these styles in recent films. The pseudo-documentary’s component of reflexive truth affords a window on the present that traditional genres and forms are less likely to open. The Neo-Western looks both backward and forward, building on American traditions steeped in nostalgia and tradition. By re-visioning traditional genres, film scholars keep alive past methodologies while inspiring and improvising future hybrids, which provide tools of construction and interpretation for both storytellers and audiences. Films explored include David Holzman’s Diary, Bob Roberts, Zelig, The Straight Story, and Lone Star.


"This is a truly seminal work. Very little previous work has addressed this topic in any form, and few have tried to make an argument for the emergence of a new film genre. The author’s film interpretations are fresh, original and decidedly worthy of further thought. The book is an outstanding example of scholarship in the critical analysis of film." Barbara K. Petersen

Table of Contents

Table of contents: Preface; Introduction; Context and Critical Strategies in Documentary; Applications of Pseudo-Documentary; Blurring the Boundaries; The Neo-Western; The Neo-Western Archetype; Endnotes; References; Appendix; Index

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