In 2004, documentary theorist Michael Renov described “the recent turn to filmic autobiography” as “the defining trend of ‘post-verite’ documentary practice...” In 2008 Renov went further still, suggesting that “the very idea of autobiography challenges/reinvents the very idea of documentary.” Archive based autobiographical filmmaking, meanwhile, is even more problematic for documentary theory. Indeed, a number of recent documentaries, because of their status somewhere in the spectrum between biography and autobiography, have prompted the construction of an entirely new conceptual category, deploying archival film, often in the form of home movies, to document the lives of their human subjects in Renov’s formulation ‘shared textual authority.’ In this article I examine one of ‘my’ own archive based documentaries, Marilyn on Marilyn (BBC2, 2001), as a way of asking questions not just about biographical and autobiographical documentary but also - and perhaps more urgently - about attributions of authorship in archive-based documentary.

shared textual authority, found footage, archive, autobiographical filmmaking, first person films, authorship
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
dx.doi.org/10.18146/2213-0969.2015.jethc094
VIEW Journal
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture; Vol 4, No 8 (2015); 67-79

Kerr, Paul. (2015). Authorship, Autobiography and the Archive: Marilyn on Marilyn, Television and Documentary Theory. VIEW Journal, 4(8), 67–79. doi:10.18146/2213-0969.2015.jethc094