Essay Film

How do the video essay and the essay film compare to each other? As hard as it is to define the audiovisual essay, the essay film may even be a harder nut to crack: giving a hard-and-fast definition of the essay film is difficult if not impossible. Its characteristics, boundaries and approaches are vague at best. These texts shed some light on the essay film.


The Essay Film (Laura Rascaroli)

In the introduction to The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments, author Rascaroli states that although the term essay film is “widely used, the category is under-theorized”. Rascaroli tries to mend this in her text, while admitting the problematic nature of trying to define this format.

You can read the complete text online.

The Essay as Form (Theodor W. Adorno)

When discussing the essay genre, whether in film, video or written form, it is hard to ignore this text. Adorno’s wrote“Der Essay als Form” between 1954 and 1958, and it was originally published in his Noten zur Literatur I.

You can read the complete text online.

The essay film – some thoughts of discontent (Kevin B. Lee)

Video essay maker Kevin B. Lee ponders the essay film, its definition and its purpose in this astute text. In addition to this written text, Lee also put his thoughts into images and sounds in a wonderful video essay. for the BFI.

You can read the complete text online or download it as a PDF.