chapter  5
17 Pages

Performativity and documentary aesthetics in Staffan Hildebrand’s earliest conference films on AIDS in the 1980s

ByTommy Gustafsson

This chapter analyzes performativity and documentary aesthetics in Staffan Hildebrand’s earliest conference films on AIDS, AIDS: föreställningar om en verklighet (1986) and Crossover (1988). The main research question is how Hildebrand chose to portray an epidemic that had relatively few previous points of cinematic references, especially concerning such things as narrative approach, the use and selection of images and archival footage, the portrayal of persons with HIV, and finally the use of voice-over as a performative element to implement the global impact of the epidemic. The chapter contextualizes Hildebrand’s films, partly by a comparison with contemporary films and television series such as An Early Frost (1985) and Dynasty (1981–1989), but above all by an auteur analysis of Hildebrand’s earlier work, both as a documentary filmmaker and as a director of fictional youth films, with the specific aim of developing the theoretical concept of the performative documentary.