The Realization of Eisenstein's Excitation Factor: Grierson, Wiseman, and the Vietnam Documentaries of the 1960s and 1970s
Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)
Colby College. English Dept.
In 1924, Sergei Eisenstein wrote “The Montage of Film Attractions,” an essay that would powerfully influence the subsequent history of cinema. His insights as expressed in this essay widened the potential for nonfiction film to incite change through the audience reaction, modifying the screen-audience relationship from a passive reaction to an active interaction. Since Eisenstein’s work in the 1920s, there has been a progression in the acceptance of Eisenstein’s theories through the work of John Grierson and Frederick Wiseman. The final acceptance of Eisenstein’s belief in the power of editing to incite change came in the late 1960s and early 1970s in a wave of documentaries based on Vietnam, which catalyzed their audiences through the use of novel juxtapositions. The Vietnam documentaries that illustrate this excitation through juxtaposition were Eugene Jones’s A Face of War, Emile de Antonio’s In the Year of the Pig, and Peter Davis’s Hearts and Minds.
Film, Documentary, Juxtaposition, Editing, Eisenstein, Vietnam Documentary
Recommended CitationStarr, Victoria A., "The Realization of Eisenstein's Excitation Factor: Grierson, Wiseman, and the Vietnam Documentaries of the 1960s and 1970s" (2009). Honors Theses. Paper 495.
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