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Governing Visions of the Real

The National Film Unit and Griersonian Documentary Film in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Governing Visions of the Real traces the emergence, development, and techniques of Griersonian documentary—named for pioneering Scottish filmmaker John Grierson—in New Zealand throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Paying close attention to the productions of the National Film Unit in the 1940s and ’50s, Lars Weckbecker follows the shifting practices and governmentality of documentary’s “visions of the real” as New Zealand and its population—particularly workers and its indigenous population—came to be envisioned through NFU film for an ensemble of political, pedagogic, and propagandistic purposes.

200 pages | 7 x 9 | © 2015

Film Studies

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"An interesting look at New Zealand’s National Film Unit and its historical context, specifically the creation of the organization and its evolution over time. . . . Governing Visions of the Real definitely challenges its reader to question what constitutes a film as a documentary, especially within governmental and political use."

Kelly Rudolph | Film Matters

"Concentrating on the two decades of the NFU’s existence following its establishment in 1941, Governing Visions of the Real looks in turn at the wartime years, the post-war period with a continuing Labour Government, and the 1950s, mostly under a National administration. . . . It explores territory little covered in published work to date. . . . A most welcome addition to the slender body of scholarship on New Zealand nonfictional filmmaking."

Russell Campbell | Studies in Documentary Film

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