Richard Barsam has given us as comprehensive a study of the origins and development of the nonfiction mode in motion pictures as we are ever likely to have in one volume. He draws on all the major written sources and many which are little known, and he shares with us many eloquent descriptions of the films themselves, giving us a valuable textbook." —Richard Dyer MacCann
Nonfiction Film: A Critical History covers almost one hundred years in the worldwide development of the nonfiction film, from the first factual films of 1895 to the cinema of the 1980s. All the important nonfiction film movements—the factual film, exploration film, war film, propaganda film, documentary film, compilation film, Cinéma vérité, film on art, films of the developing countries, and contemporary women’s, lesbian, and gay liberation films—are discussed, as are outstanding nonfiction filmmakers, including Auguste and Louis Lumière, Thomas A. Edison, Dziga Vertov, Esther Shub, Alexander Dovzhenko, Alberto Cavalcanti, Robert Flaherty, John Grierson, Pare Lorentz, Joris Ivens, Henri Storck, Leni Riefenstahl, Frank Capra, Willard Van Dyke, Alain Resnais, Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, Frederick Wiseman, Marcel Ophuls, Emile De Antonio, and Albert and David Maysles. More than 2,000 films are examined, many in unprecedented detail.
Richard Barsam’s revised and expanded edition of Nonfiction Film: A Critical History (first published in 1973) fills the need for a one-volume critical study of the nonfiction film. It is unmatched in its comprehensiveness, the depth of its analyses of nonfiction genres, movements, directors, and films, and its discussions of historical and cultural influences.