Introduction: Immediations
1. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “immediate,” accessed March 24, 2016, http:// www
.oed .com /view /Entry /91838 ?redirectedFrom = immediate.
2. Per John Corner, Grierson’s first use of the term documentary is in a review of
Robert Flaherty’s film Moana for a New York newspaper in 1926. Corner, Art of
Record, 2. Corner notes that the phrase “creative treatment of actuality,” which is
commonly attributed to Grierson, is actually difficult to find in Grierson’s most
commonly cited writings; its first usage is likely in the article “The Documentary
Producer,” written by Grierson for Cinema Quarterly in 1933. Corner, Art of Rec-
ord, 13.
3. See Hardy, Introduction, 18. Hardy quotes from the Fortnightly Review (August
1939), where Grierson writes that “the basic force behind [the documentary film
movement] was social not aesthetic.”
4. Grierson, “The Documentary Idea: 1942,” 250.
5. Grierson, “The Documentary Idea: 1942,” 257.
6. Kahana, Intelligence Work, 7. Kahana reads Grierson’s review of Moana in 1926
as an ambivalent document that is less certain about the meaning and potential
value of documentary than his later manifestos. Kahana notes, “In fact, Grierson
emphasizes that the instrumental elements of Flaherty’s film do not inhibit what
is truly admirable about the film: its capacity to link us to the timeless values of
nature, human and otherwise” (5). Kahana views this ambivalence as evidence of
an allegorical tendency in the documentary form— one that he argues cultivates
an interpretive attitude that continually articulates the particular to the universal,
while retaining the specificity of the particular (7– 8).
7. See Scarry, Thinking in an Emergency; and Calhoun, “Idea of Emergency.”
8. Winston, Claiming the Real II, 46.
9. For example, Michael Renov writes that “at the level of the sign, it is the differing
historical status of the referent that distinguishes documentary from its fictional
counterpart not the formal relations among signifier, signified, and referent.” “In-
troduction,” 2.
10. See Trinh, “Mechanical Eye,” 57; and Rony, Third Eye, 102.
11. See, for example, Juhasz and Lerner, F Is for Phony; Beattie, Documentary Display;
Lebow, Cinema of Me; and MacDonald, Avant- Doc.
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