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Abstract

In his article "Representing Postmodern Marginality in Three Documentary Films" Robert LeBlanc traces the emergence of new epistemologies of documentary film experience within the cases of three recent films that explore the subject's experience of marginality as central to its constitution as subject. These films -- by Marlon Riggs, Chad Friedrichs, and Jessica Yu -- explore the crises of self-representation engaged by their documentary subjects as these subjects seek to define themselves despite -- and yet through -- their experiences of marginal status, while avoiding a reinforcement of that status that could arise through its continued placement into narrative. The essay's exploration of the constitutive multiformity of documentary filmmaking suggests an augmentation of existing theories about the relevance of fictional and nonfiction narrative in postmodern documentary, as indicated by film theorist Michael Renov. LeBlanc applies Vivian Sobchack's theories of the intersubjective nature of film communication to explore the role of direct viewer address in articulating crises of self-representation. As the essay explores the filmmakers' efforts to further the self-representational projects of their outsider-artist subjects, it asserts that some forms of documentary epistephilia may in fact turn inward as they articulate the implosive capacity of epistephilia to draw the marginal subject within the bounds of recognizable answers and ends.

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