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Understanding LovePhilosophy, Film, and Fiction$
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Susan Wolf and Christopher Grau

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384512.001.0001

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Sherman’s March

Sherman’s March

Romantic Love in Documentary Films

(p.231) 11 Sherman’s March
Understanding Love

David L. Paletz

Oxford University Press

Romantic love, the heart of many fiction films, is rare in documentary films. This essay begins by explaining its absence and shows that, when it appears, romantic love is usually depicted unfavorably: pleasure turns into pain, possession into loss or a marriage of misery and make do. Then the focus turns to “Sherman’s March,” the documentary that best reveals romantic love in all its aspects, as we (the viewers) accompany Ross McElwee or, rather, his persona, in a quest for romantic love from one after another engaging and distinctive Southern woman. The analysis shows the film’s remarkable construction, sound track and voiceovers, its images and camera movements; and finds that, as it celebrates the women’s uniqueness, originality and style, the film is a droll tale of a search marked more by frustration and failure than success.

Keywords:   Camera, Documentary Films, Persona, Romantic Love, Ross McElwee, "Sherman’s March," Southern Woman

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