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Pia Jensen

Sensory Ethnography and the Self – New Models for Personal Journeys.

"Any attempt at sketching down history, becomes a topography over a battlefield."

My motivation for the master thesis project, arose from a curiosity to explore possibilities within new directions in documentary filmmaking. Some recent films, such as Mia Engbergs Belleville Baby (Engberg, 2013), are examples of hybrid documentaries that borrow from experimental works, accented cinema and sensory visuality, to tell personal stories. The challenge in many of these works, lies in the impossibility of representing a country, a memory, a lost lover, when these images no longer exist. As a result, they rely on visual material of another sort, often abstract. Images that only allude to the narrative, and make reference to the story indirectly. The spectator thus becomes an interpreter, and must utilize his or her imagination to fill in the gaps.

The works that I have explored in the process, ranging from Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (Marker, 1982) to Petra Costas Elena (Costa, 2014), are not confined into one particular category. What they share is, however, a fresh approach to documentary and autoethnography, from a formal and conceptual point of view. As part of my investigation into new ways of storytelling, I discovered various recurrent themes shared by these films, as well as narrative tools that are helpful when creating from a limited position.


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Film: "Hungarian Lullaby". Norway, Austria, Hungary.

Film Festivals: Norwegian Film festival in June 2017