John bresland video essay - Northland Buildings Inc.
John bresland on the origin of the video essay slashfilm
One aspect of the video essay that seems unambiguous is that it draws power from documentary tropes, and usually ends up subverting them. Prose poet Claudia Rankine, in a collaboration with filmmaker John Lucas, works in a visual form familiar to anyone who watches sports: the instant replay. The point of the replay being, of course, to make truth visible. Which is exactly what Rankine and Lucas pull off in Zidane, but in a way you’ll never see on ESPN. And in The Wren, a work of and about poetry, Penny Lane and Jessica Bardsley do away with the documentary tendency to illustrate language with image, or vice versa, by using language as image.
John Bresland is an essayist who works in film, radio and print
Regardless of runtime, the video essay requires a story. That story may take the form of a narrative, a sequence of events, or it may be a meditation in which “the story” is really the tension generated—to paraphrase essayist Phillip Lopate—by an author working through some mental knot. Notes on Liberty, John Scott’s video essay, combines those two modes, meditation and narrative, to great effect.