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Green Documentary

Environmental Documentary in the 21st Century

During the first decade of the twenty-first century, a stunning array of documentary films focusing on environmental issues, representing the world on the brink of ecological catastrophe, has been met with critical and popular acclaim. This cohesive and accessible volume is the first book-length study of environmental documentary filmmaking, offering a coherent analysis of controversial and high-profile documentary films such as Gasland, An Inconvenient Truth, Manufactured Landscapes, and The Cove. With analysis that includes the wider context of environmental documentary filmmaking, such as Modern Life and Sleep Furiously, about local rural communities in Britain and Europe, Green Documentary also contributes to the ongoing debate on representing the crisis.

182 pages | 60 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2014

Film Studies

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"In this clearly written and structured work, Helen Hughes offers us the first book-length survey of the eco-conscious documentaries that crammed theatres in the first decade of the new millennium. . . . A valuable contribution to the field of ecocriticism. . . . Hughes manages to balance history, theory, and close frame-to-frame reading with a light touch, underscoring nonfiction cinema’s ongoing importance in helping us negotiate the dynamic conditions surrounding us."

Senses of Cinema

"[Hughes's] theoretical discussion focuses on what she calls the 'toxic materiality' of the ecological documentary: its involvement—through its dependence on technology, chemistry, minerals, fossil fuels, and so forth—in the very thing that it critiques. . . . [A] compelling book."

Film & History

Green Documentary offers a robust introduction to the evolving subfield of ecomedia and documentary cinema’s place within it.”

Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction: Contemplation, Irony, Argument

Chapter 2: The Institutional Context

Chapter 3: The Contemplative Response

Chapter 4: The Ironic Response

Chapter 5: The Argumentative Response

Chapter 6: The Material Response

Works Cited

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