Techniques employed by engaged cinema filmmakers included many of the techniques established by Direct Cinema documentary, such as spontaneously shot reportage, staged interviews and “talking heads”, street footage of demonstrations, and “radical scavenging” of mainstream news-footage, which was pioneered by Emile De Antonio. The innovations of postwar modernist ﬁlmmaking were melded with the new radical-left orientation to create a political modernism that made commercial cinema experimental to a degree comparable to the avant-garde movements of the 1920s.
Please view the film Union Maids to see an example of this technique.
By the mid-1970s, many revolutions had failed—as in Latin America—or had revealed a repressive side, like in Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. Filmmakers began to imagine a “micropolitics” that would promote social change at a grassroots level within institutions. The extreme tendencies of political modernism waned in commercial 35mm productions; ﬁlmmakers developed less challenging approaches to storytelling and style. Even the Third World, home of the most militant alternative cinemas, began to produce ﬁlms for an international audience and to work in widely accessible forms. Political modernism hung on somewhat longer in the avant-garde sector,