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The formation of sound in documentary film: from silent cinema to the flourishing of first-person filmmaking

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Renan Paiva Chaves
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Campinas, SP.
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Artes
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Claudiney Rodrigues Carrasco; Fernão Pessoa Ramos; Eduardo Simões dos Santos Mendes; Fernando Morais da Costa; Virginia Osorio Flôres
Advisor: Claudiney Rodrigues Carrasco

The thesis addresses the theory and history of sound and music in the documentary film tradition, focusing on the period between the 1920s and 1980s. Through cue sheets, scores, scripts, diaries, letters, texts by filmmakers, film production documents, interviews, equipment manuals, archival materials, academic texts and the films themselves, the research focuses on the formation of the ethical and stylistic aspects that guided the sound documentary making throughout the 20th century. From a diachronic perspective, transformations and contingent aspects within a representative world filmography are discussed. The first chapter addresses the first sound paradigms of non-fiction films from the silent period. The second chapter focuses on the conformation of the sound aspects of documentary production from the 1930s to the 1950s, indicating the elements inherited from the silent period and those that were born with the stabilization of the sound-visual format of the documentary film. The third chapter is dedicated to modern documentary – covering filmography from the 1950s to the 1990s – pointing to the sound elements of previous decades that are reappropriated and transformed in the new ethical, stylistic and technological contexts that began to emerge after the Second World War. The results point to a history of sound in documentary that is more characterized by its perennial aspects than by eventual ruptures: the new cannot be sustained – neither epistemologically nor in praxis – without what preceded it. The thesis, in the end, seeks to contribute to the emerging field of studies of documentary sound, through a text that intends to be panoramic and introductory. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/09111-8 - Documentary film and soundtrack: the sounds of the self
Grantee:Renan Paiva Chaves
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate