Macquarie University
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Cover the blood: a theoretical and creative-practice examination of intra-activity and documentary filmmaking

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posted on 2022-11-13, 23:32 authored by Jacob GottliebJacob Gottlieb

This thesis proposes a posthuman philosophical framework for investigating the relationship between autoethnographic filmmakers and the films they make. It begins with a discussion of intra-activity (Barad, 2003) and its applications to filmmaking processes (Benjamin, 1935, Anders, 1956). It then considers first-person, essay, autobiographic, and auto-ethnographic filmmaking practices through the lens of this intra-active framework, asking how such filmmakers are engaged in renegotiating, embodying, and enacting boundaries of agency. The documentary-films Heart of a Dog (Anderson, 2015), I want to make a film about women (Pearlman, 2019), and The Gleaners and I (Varda, 2000) are analysed as examples of how the intra-active framework might interpret particular films and their formal construction. This research outlines and resists the habit of representationalism in film theory and posits an understanding of filmmaker and film as authoring one another in the filmmaking process. This research also includes a creative-practice film, Cover the Blood (2021), which is an investigation and enaction of the ideas discussed within the written thesis.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Towards a Philosophical Framework -- Chapter Two: Intra-activity and the creation of first-person, essay, autobiographic and autoethnographic documentaries -- Intermezzo: Link to Cover the Blood -- Chapter Three: Documentary Filmmakers Becoming Films -- Conclusions and Further Questions -- List of works cited

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Communication, Creative Arts, Language and Literature

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Karen Pearlman


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




70 pages

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