Macquarie University

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Poetic honesty in autobiographical hybrid documentary film

posted on 2022-03-28, 11:02 authored by Margaret McHugh
The field this practice-based research broadly explores is the techniques and use of poetic expression in hybrid documentary. Specifically, it involves narrowing the inquiry to questions of how autobiography and the subjective lived experience is cinematically represented in this mode of filmmaking. The primary research question is: Through what creative processes can an autobiographical hybrid documentary be both poetic and honest? To address this question, I will examine the academic discourse on what I am calling 'poetic honesty' in hybrid documentary. To support the theoretical context, I will present two case studies that examine the creative processes used in the autobiographical hybrid documentaries Heart of a Dog by Laurie Anderson (Anderson 2015) and Tarnation by Jonathan Caouette (Caouette 2003). In acknowledging existing scholarship on storytelling and filmmaking research methods, I will apply understandings of historiography and autoethnographic filmmaking methodologies to the hybrid documentary mode, as both disciplines question how non-fiction stories are retold and propose the subjective lived experience be considered a valid form of remembering and documenting the past. The outcome of this research is to test theories developed in the studies through the creation of my short autobiographical hybrid documentary, Sun & Moon (McHugh 2017). The result of this research project is the development of processes, both theoretical and practical, by which the subjective lived experience can be analysed and applied to the hybrid documentary mode.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter One. Hybrid documentary -- Chapter Two. Methodology -- Chapter Three. Case studies -- Chapter Four. Creative project -- Conclusion -- Bibliography -- Filmography -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 51-53

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Karen Pearlman


Copyright Margaret McHugh 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




Australia Pakistan


1 online resource (72 pages) illustrations (some colour)

Former Identifiers