Found Footage and the Construction of the Self: Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD (Mark Leckey, 2015) and Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream (Frank Beauvais, 2019)

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    When looking at some recent essay films exploring personal and family stories, one notices that it is quite common and even expected to include personal archives and historical material alongside the primary narration and original footage. What is less common is when the film does not appear to use any original and personal material, but seemingly constructs the entire (visual) narration with footage taken from films made by others. This is the case of my two prime examples: Dream English Kid 1964–1999 AD (2015) by the British artist Mark Leckey and Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream / Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (2019) by the French filmmaker Frank Beauvais. Drawing upon Michel Foucault’s study of what he calls “The Practices of the Self”, and more specifically the ancient Greek writing exercise, the hupomnèmata, my intention is to discuss and define the act of appropriation at work in these examples. How is found footage utilised to illustrate, practice or investigate the self? What kind of role does the sound, and the voice, have in this process? What does this mean in terms of the relationship between the self, the footage used, and the collective? Indeed, these essay films are at the intersection of two modes: first-person filmmaking and the found footage tradition. My aim in this article is to explore the tension created by these approaches and to attempt to define a self which is no longer based only on individual material, but rather is built up through a very intimate and original accumulation and assemblage of collective memories.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021

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