The art of nonfiction
The essence of the video essay form is its power (and freedom) to use artistic methods to pursue academic goals. The best video essays are the combination of a work of art and an intellectual argumentation. They can deploy a whole arsenal of artistic strategies, rather than only rely on the classical academic (text-based, linear, rigorously structured) modes of reasoning.
This sublimely evocative video essay on the art of nonfiction filmmaking does just that. Robert Greene sparingly uses only a handful of well-chosen quotes to give context to the excerpts from documentaries he has compiled. The rest of the talking is left to those excerpts and the people in it themselves.
“The art of nonfiction lies in the tension between chaos and structure” is one of the aphorisms used in this video. In similar fashion, the art of the video essay lies in the tension between its artistic means of expression and academic insights.