Naturalism and Television

Marcel Ophuls

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI:
Naturalism and Television

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In this lecture, the author, the maker of television documentaries such as The Sorrow and the Pity, Sense of Loss and Memory of Justice, first expresses his admiration for his father, Max Ophuls, and describes how he himself became what he deprecatingly describes as ‘a self indulgent specialist of four-and-a-half talking-head marathons’: that is, documentaries. This lecture's critique of naturalism explores, but strongly contests, themes addressed by John McGrath at the initial festival in 1976: ‘John McGrath and I do not agree at all’, the author acknowledges, ‘on the nature, on the causes or the definition of the naturalist tradition’. The lecture discusses the techniques of naturalism — its social functions, social mission and social purpose. It then recalls the author's ‘irresistible urge’ to say that he ‘much preferred the realism of Noel Coward's This Happy Breed…to the elaborately bleak naturalism of Cathy Come Home’.

Keywords: naturalism; television; television documentaries; Max Ophuls; John McGrath; realism; Noel Coward; This Happy Breed; Cathy Come Home

Chapter.  3429 words. 

Subjects: Television

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