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ReFocus: The Films of Barbara Kopple$
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Jeff Jaeckle and Susan Ryan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439947

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439947.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 June 2021

Celebrity and Vulnerability in Three Documentaries by Barbara Kopple

Celebrity and Vulnerability in Three Documentaries by Barbara Kopple

(p.104) Chapter 7 Celebrity and Vulnerability in Three Documentaries by Barbara Kopple
ReFocus: The Films of Barbara Kopple

Heather McIntosh

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the role of emotion, specifically vulnerability, in three of Kopple’s recent films that focus on representations of women and their experiences. In Running from Crazy (2013), Kopple explores with Mariel Hemingway the mental illness and suicide that permeate the Hemingway family history and Mariel's struggles to understand them. Miss Sharon Jones! (2015) chronicles the funk and soul singer's diagnosis and battle with pancreatic cancer just as her career reaches new heights. This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous (2017) is a portrait of Gigi Lazzarato, a transgender YouTube star who struggles for identity, happiness, and acceptance in transphobic worlds both online and offline. Drawing theories of documentary representation, trauma, and witnessing, this chapter demonstrates how Kopple deftly balances the witness and her story of each portrait within the demands of nonfiction filmmaking.

Keywords:   celebrity, reality television, vulnerability, trauma, representation, This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, Running from Crazy, Miss Sharon Jones!

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