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Direct Cinema in America: Observational Documentary and the Politics of the Sixties is the first comprehensive study of the seminal 'direct cinema' movement of 1960s America. Through the inquisitiveness of filmmakers such as Robert Drew, D. A. Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman - and predicated on invations such as portable cameras and synchronised sound - direct cinema intimately documented a never-before-screened America: from presidential campaigns, through the revellers of Woodstock, to the dispossessed subjects of Wiseman's 'reality fictions'. Direct Cinema locates these vastly influential yet politically underappreciated films in American history, suggesting direct cinema represented a resurgence of the United States' home-grown philosophical tradition, and was inextricably bound up in the artistic and political impulses of the 1960s.
Dave Saunders is a visiting tutor at the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London.