Alphaville: Recording Reality, Desiring the Real

By Amy Parziale

Cowie_recording coverRecording Reality, Desiring the Real analyses documentary media through the lens of psychoanalytic, deconstructionist and semiotic theory. This book has as its assumed audience a well-read and intellectually engaged readership, a fact that comes as no surprise to anyone already acquainted with Elizabeth Cowie’s previous work, particularly her 1997 book Representing the Woman: Cinema and Psychoanalysis. As noted by Jeffrey Gieger, “Cowie’s work … brings theory and astute critical practice to bear on documentary texts while underlining their social and interpersonal nature” through a consideration of the “citizen-spectator” who participates in the film experience as a situated and desiring subject (Geiger). Recording Reality, Desiring the Real explores the documentary in its myriad forms, including direct cinema, docudrama and reality television. The various chapters are held together by a continued investigation into tensions between reality and fiction, factuality and spectacle within documentaries and how these tensions affect spectator identification through the very construction of documentary evidence.

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