DA Pennebaker’s Dont Look Back

DA Pennebaker’s Dont Look Back Alamo Pictures Copyright


As a tribute to documentary film pioneer DA Pennebaker, who passed away in August 2019, Factual America explores his groundbreaking Dont Look Back (1967), considered one of the best documentary films of all time.

Dr Stella Bruzzi, author of the acclaimed New Documentary, demonstrates how the film about Bob Dylan is a shining example of the direct cinema style pioneered by Pennebaker and in the process shows us why people like Michael Moore have called him the “grandfather of modern American documentary filmmaking.”

“It’s a scientific truism, that the minute you look at something or intervene you change it, and it doesn’t mean to say it’s untruthful…it’s just a different truth.” – Stella Bruzzi

Time Stamps:

01:14 – Who Professor Bruzzi is and what she’s done.
02:09 – DA Pennebaker, and some examples of the films he’s worked on.
03:28 – Why Dr Bruzzi decided to focus on the film ‘Dont Look Back’.
05:17 – A brief synopsis of the film.
07:23 – What ‘Dont Look Back’ is really about.
08:52 – Analysing the ‘lightbulb’ clip.
15:25 – The dismissal of Joan Baez, and Pennebaker’s clever take on this.
19:46 – The ‘Joan Baez singing’ clip.
21:37 – How Dylan and Baez both appear in this scene.
23:36 – The beginnings of observational documentaries, and their limitations.
27:17 – Pennebaker’s awareness of Dylan’s performance.
29:08 – The ‘Donovan’s song and Dylan’s reply’ clip.
31:45 – Our interpretations of the clip.
36:12 – The cult of personality surrounding Bob Dylan.
38:10 – The legacy of the film and of Pennebaker.
42:25 – The uniquely American aspects of the film.
44:50 – The legacy of direct cinema.


Dont Look Back
New Documentary: A Critical Introduction
Alamo Pictures 

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