Observational Cinema





To observe, as [Roger] Sandall made clear, involved attending to the world – actively, passionately, concretely – while at the same time, relinquishing the desire to control, circumscribe or appropriate it. 

[Quoting Frederick Wiseman:] When the observational technique works, it puts you in the middle of the events and asks you to think through your own relationship to what you're seeing and hearing, which I think is more interesting for the viewer. The real film takes place where the mind or the eye of the viewer meets the screen and interprets, in a sense, participates in, what they're seeing and hearing.


from Grimshaw, A and Ravetz, A (2009) Observational Cinema: Anthropology, Film, and the Exploration of Social Life Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press