Screening revolution : constructing a Marxist theoretical framework for social documentary filmmakers analysing class structure and the class struggle

Sparkes, Daryl John Trevor (2006) Screening revolution : constructing a Marxist theoretical framework for social documentary filmmakers analysing class structure and the class struggle. PhD by Creative Works, Queensland University of Technology.


Social documentary filmmaking cannot be undertaken in a theoretical void, regardless of the intentions of the filmmaker. Each film's textual, stylistic and aesthetic composition is dictated by the ideological intent of the filmmaker, either consciously or subconsciously. As a result, social documentary films are a product of either conservative or subversive filmmakers and can be viewed as cultural products of social control by the dominant capitalist ideology or as tools promoting class awareness, class struggle and revolutionary praxis by those sympathetic to Marxist doctrine.

This dissertation examines how Marxist ideology, in particular theories relating to class structure and the class struggle, can be used by filmmakers to analyse social documentary films. It enables the construction of a methodological 'toolkit' for filmmakers from which they are able to determine if individual social documentary films can be regarded as Marxist or not. This 'toolkit' is comprised of the theories of Lenin, Comolli and Narboni, Brecht, Althusser, and Weber among others.

Once a methodological framework is constructed, it is used to evaluate a number of social documentary case studies including 7-Up, Harlan County USA, Roger and Me, and my own film, A Shit of a Job (which was produced by myself for broadcast on SBS television), as to their adherence to the principles of Marxist aesthetics and allegiance to the proletarian cause of class awareness and the class struggle.

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ID Code: 16333
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Creative Works)
Supervisor: Cunningham, Stuart & Frost, Stephen
Keywords: class struggle, class structure, Marxism, documentary filmmaker, capitalism
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Disciplines > Film & Television
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Daryl John Trevor Sparkes
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:01
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2016 11:08

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