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AFW + NFSA #52 – The Anthropological Cinema of David and Judith MacDougall

7pm Thursday 29 September | AFW/Arena, 2 Kerr St Fitzroy

“David and Judith MacDougall have been leading figures in the project of anthropological cinema for over two decades. They began working in the late 1960s, in the aftermath of the creative explosion in postwar cinema which was inaugurated by the Italian neorealist school. The impulse behind the formal, technological and substantive innovations of British Free Cinema, the French New Wave and the American direct cinema movement was a commitment to an expansive democratic project. The new film-makers broke decisively with the old categories of fiction and documentary, and with the established hierarchy of professional practice.

The MacDougalls have made their own distinctive contribution to postwar cinema. They sought to employ its new techniques in areas of traditional anthropological enquiry. The problems they encountered in attempting to synthesise the separate but related traditions of cinema and scientific ethnography precipitated a bold experimentation with method, as the location of their work shifted. The MacDougalls first began to develop their anthropological cinema in the context of East Africa, later they moved to Australia, and more recently they have made films in Europe and Asia.”

- The Anthropological Cinema of David and Judith MacDougall, Anna Grimshaw, University of Manchester.