The Ontology of Replay: The Zapruder Video and American Conspiracy Films
While European films organize their narratives through flashbacks, US investigative cinema adopts the replay, which typically belongs to television. The Zapruder footage of Kennedy’s assassination is endlessly repeated, retold, and reframed. If Hollywood’s cinematic time can be imagined as a straight line progressing toward a climax, the Zapruder video is circular—it loops like a snake devouring its own tail/tale, indirectly offering investigative filmmakers a new cinematic time. Consequently, the Maysles brothers in Gimme Shelter began exploring if images are able to reveal the true nature of events. Pakula’s The Parallax View and All the President’s Men are centerpieces of the investigative category in the United States, since they evoke the police-state menace and adopt a documentary-like integration of television news footage.