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Approaches of the modern European and American media researchers to analyzing documenatary cinema

Научные исследования: 


© Egor V. Shapovalov

PhD student at the Chair of Foreign Journalism and Literature, Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia),



The article is based on analysis of recent English language publications devoted to theoretical concepts and methodological approaches to studying modern documentary cinema. The first paragraph relates to the content of the term «documentary», which remains a subject of debate among contemporary American and European scholars. The considered concepts and definitions fall into two main categories: essentialist and nonessentialist. Essentialist concepts imply that documentary cinema has a number of defining features. Nonessentialist concepts suggest that each film is a unique artefact, which can be analyzed only in the social and historical context. The second chapter describes close connection of modern documentary cinema with other media formats. Modern film theorists study this connection to characterize tendencies that emerged in the last ten years. Contemporary documentary cinema often becomes the subject of mass communication studies. It is due to the fact that documentary filmmakers borrow their principles and tools from other fields, such as alternative journalism and strategic communications. This allows them to adapt artistic traditions of previous decades to the needs of today’s mediatized social realities. This tendency is particularly apparent in documentary films dedicated to social and political issues.


Key words: documentary cinema, mass media, mediatization



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