In the wake of the explosion in the production of essay films over the last 25 years and its subsequent theorization in scholarly literature, this volume seeks to historicize these intertwined developments within the ‘long durée’ of the 20th century and into the 21st. By raising the issue of ‘beyond the essay film’, this collection seeks not only to acknowledge the influential predecessors of this — in the view of many critics, the most interesting type of contemporary filmmaking — but also to speculate about its possible transformation as we move forward into the uncharted waters of the 21st — digital — century. Beyond the Essay Film focusses on three specific axes that underpin and shape the articulation of the essay film as a specific cultural form — subjectivity, textuality, and technology — to explore how changes along and across these dimensions affect historical shifts within the essay-film practice and its relation to other types of cinema and neighbouring art forms.
Julia Vassilieva is Australian Research Council Research Fellow and lecturer in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. She is author of Narrative Psychology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and co-editor of After Taste: Cultural Value and the Moving Image (Routledge, 2013). Her publications have also appeared in Camera Obscura, Film-Philosophy, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Screening the Past, Critical Arts, Kinovedcheskie Zapiski, Rouge, Lola, Senses of Cinema, History of Psychology, and a number of edited collections.
Deane Williams is Associate Professor in Film and Screen Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. From 2007-2017, he was editor of the journal Studies in Documentary Film, and his books include Australian Post-War Documentary Film: An Arc of Mirrors (2008), Michael Winterbottom (with Brian McFarlane, 2009), the three-volume Australian Film Theory and Criticism (co-edited with Noel King and Constantine Verevis, 2013-2018), and The Cinema of Sean Penn: In and Out of Place (2016).