THE BLACK OUD represents a subtle new direction in documentary. Lawrence Jordan used the term "bio-documentary" to describe the slight, though essential, differences between this film and the majority of personal or experimental documentaries made in the decade prior. Of course, the prefix "bio" means "life." But what Jordan refers to specifically is the connotation of biography. The film shows only one woman. Most biography, however, details information about a specific human being: who that person is and what he or she did when. Some of these elements occur in THE BLACK OUD. But there is a difference.
The film is truly about Joanna McClure. It follows her activities during the summer of 1990. She traveled in Rome and the Greek islands, saw ruins and temples, read, sometimes swam, wrote lines of poetry, sat at cafe tables and so forth. She did all of these things; the camera recorded them.
[Is there perhaps too little information about the daily lives of people?]
H.D.'s great poem, HERMETIC DEFINITION, is utilized as the fictitious thoughts of Joanna, a kind of every-woman, projected onto the screen. It is no longer simple biography but bio-documentary, a document of all life.