In the first coprehensive introduction to the nature and development of ethnographic film, Peter Loizos reviews fifty of the most important films made between 1955 and 1985. Going beyond programmatic statements, he analyzes the films themselves, identifying and discussing their contributions to ethnographic documentation.
Loizos begins by reviewing works of John Marshall and Timothy Asch in the 1950s and moves through those of Jean Rouch, Robert Gardner, and many more recent filmmakers. He reveals a steady course of innovations along four dimensions: production technology, subject matter, strategies of argument, and ethnographic authentication. His analyses of individual films address questions of realism, authenticity, genre, authorial and subjective voice, and representation of the films' creators as well as their subjects.
Innovation in Ethnographic Film, as a systematic and iluminating review of developments in ethnographic film, will be an important resource for the growing number of anthropologists and other scholars who use such films as tools for research and teaching.