This article pays attention to historical differentia of the essay film, then and now through the essay film as a strategy of critiques of illusionist realism raised by Noel Burch. He was a pioneering writer and critics to identify the essay film as a critically effective work against the background of polemics around the political modernism in the 1970s. And we are now facing an overwhelming flow of essay films in a range of venues including galleries, museums, art theatres, and festivals. They are predominantly seen as the dominant species of moving images, which used to focus on a myriad of formal qualities in a self-sufficient way not to necessarily be based on reality. In this article, I try to explore the historical gap or different the political-aesthetical impulse of essay films produced in a few decades, in particular, to examine the significant work, The Forgotten Space, which was directed by Allan Sekula and Noel Burch. While contributing the note for the work, Noel Burch traced major characters of the essay films in retrospect and adds his own significant remarks about his co-work. Unlike common that political modernism aimed at the refusal of any kind of realism or realist representation of the objective world, Burch tells that “it can only be sampled” of the reality(the globalized capitalism in that case), suggesting that essay film might be a critical measure to capture the reality aginst its un-representability. In short, I try to ask whether the essay films are re-registration of reality or inner immersion within filmic field freed from reality.
1. 에세이 영화의 좌표
2. 에세이 영화는 무엇을 부정하는가