gunning1997a

gunning1997a - iions\itli the aid Ill-lllL'atiitiial...

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Unformatted text preview: iions \\itli the aid Ill-lllL' 'atiitiial tiliiis' limit the l:iL'l.1lt'(:ttllttmlty, liowtliesc minis can giie the spectator .1 glimpse into ati 'iiiyisilile' animal \1ot'ltl. l'iy '1c.itiiig.tntiii.1|s almost lll\'.' lead characters and thus lictin malt/111g them, these iliiis come yery close to the popular sctetice‘ ot'tlie nineteenth cetituiy Iiarly nontictioii tilnis otieii had .1 tixed position at the beginning ot‘the perloriiiance and, according to Dttmt Hrrrryrs', {Nederlatids ldll‘lnt‘ttlhcttntl tor-.1 my good reason. l-‘ilm performances 111 the 1910s had .1 specific characteristic: .Iiey were noisy. hi this essay he contends that in particular the colours in these :ilnis were a tool to attract the audience's attention, conduciye to, though hy tio iicans guaranteeing, a quiet performance. :\ui.liences iii the itiios are also the local poitit iii the contribution by Nadia/111' Hti’ri'tliritish L'Iiiyersities l"i|iii it Video Council, London]. lliley ..il;es lilieeii questions and uses them to produce .1 guide on how to go about escareli into .1ud1e11ces ot'tlie time. The research arising from these questions 11“ give liliii audiences .1 tiilly lledged place 111 tilni history, regardless ol' .1 heiher they were looking at liction or nonfiction films. This collection concludes with .111 essay by ll'i'li’t'mi: Ut'rt‘rfri'ii { University of i'tt'echt}. He places the early noiiliction film in the audiovisual history ot‘the nineteenth and 111 eiitieth centuries, which since the 1950s have been largely letct'niiiied li_\'1e|e\isioii. He shows that early tioiilictioii 7 and in .1 wider otitest the film - is .t t'outtdaliout way to the possihilities tillered by this same 1 leyisioii. In this contest, tor example, he goes into the phenomenon of .iiiitiltaneity \\ hicli. though only attaining tiill ti'uition yia television. is' already eo'aceahle to the early llll't]. 'l'hese eleven essays are intended to act as a spur to further research, and not is ends in ilieiiiseh'es, At this moment, however, the very attraction ot' esearcli into the early nontietioii film is that there are still so few \\ ell roddeti paths Anyone venturing into uncharted territory without a map titay 1 cl like .111 explorer. As with any uncharted tei'ritoiy, more and more maps ot‘ he early nonfiction area will he drawn. The splendid heauty ol'tlie area nieriis '; the eyidence hes in the lilnis tltenisch'es. ,\ litial word on print references. \\*'hctie\'ei' iti tlte tens rclct'ctice is made to specitic pr1111,a lootnoie will tell iti \\'lll\.l] archiye it can lie totind. When it s a pritit Ii‘oni the Nederlaiids Filniniuseutii, the Footnote gi\ es the print title, .1Ilowed lay ati latighsh translation ol'the print title and the original title \\llk'|]lil1<t\\'l1). lltL' Iratiie stills l1.ne all lieeii niade Ii'om the nitrate prints. The editors, Iuly 1997 BEFORE DOCUMENTARY: Ear/y nonfiction filtiit and the ‘ilirii1 ’ actrbm‘r ’l‘otii Gunning A (lliftir‘l't‘d (liaztn'ttry he recent reevaluation ot‘eat'ly cinema springs from .1 deteriiiitiatioii to approach the films ol‘eineina‘s tirst decades on their own terms. While recognizing that 11 historiograpliic project which attempts to fully reproduce the past ‘as it really was‘ is dootiied to .1 naiye historicism, nonetheless, .1 responsible historian iiittst try to recreate the original liori/oti ot'_e.\pe_c_t.a_t_ion in which lilms were produced and receieetl. 'l'lie ice-1. tit reyision of early film history daresdtiuiitlfi 19-78 FlAl“ conference .11 Brighton, England which inaugurated a new era in the study ot‘early cinema by collecting together a larger number ot‘tilms limit the period 1900—1906 than had been gathered previously. This ‘Brighton project‘ arranged for scholars to view and discuss these films, rather than relying on canonical descriptions and accounts ot'cinema’s evolution contained in traditional histories. A series of‘presetitatiotis at Brighton and later a ntuiilier ol'pulilishcd essays t'e-cyalttated tliesc lilttis, tiiakitig tisc ot coiiteiiipor.11'_\' narratiye theory and formal analysis. .‘s‘ince Brighton a broader project of placing early cinema in a social and economic contest has begun. While many unanswered questions remain, the work undertaken by historians in tiiaiiy countries to establish the modes of production, the range ot'cineiiiatic styles and getit'es, and the means of es’liihition iii early citienia continues to make strong headway, emerging lt‘tJttt [and in some ways surpassing] the simple principle tot-initiated at Brighton ol‘a close and flesh L'.\.l111ll‘l.t'|llllt ol‘the te\ts tlietiisclies. 13111, as is always true, decisions in the initial gathering ot‘material ended up shaping a corpus in ways which had untoreseeii consequences. 'l'wo principles which governed the selection ol‘the tilms shown at l‘srighton in 197.' contributed to a general neglect ol'iionliction film in ilie re-eyaluatioii U _.___—.._...-—._ m...... . ofcat’ly cinema.1 lloth oflhcsc decisions, as I understand It. were ofa j‘l'JL'lltJl rather than polemic heltl‘ .uid neglect was simply a bv prodnct rather than intent. The first was the decision to locus on a period beginning at tooo, some years after the most commonly agreed upon dates ofcinema‘s debut. The motive for this decision came from a desire to avoid the controversies over rival claims ofinvention which had so often dominated the study ofcat‘ly cinema. sidetracking it into often hitter quarrels between advocates ofcompcting inventors. spurred on by personal or national loyalty. The second decision was to cottcctti rate on lietion filmmaking. leaving nonliction to the side. The motive for this decision seems to be less the avoiding ofcontroversies than a reasonable reluctance to \\ ade into a great unexplored territory, a space left hlanls on all charts. '1 he mass ofnonlictiott filnts were diflicult to date. trace or identify. \‘y'isdont seemed to dictate restricting this initial foray in the revision ofearly tilm history to the more containable area offiction films. The consequence oftltese eminently rational decisions was that nonfiction cinema had to wait for a reconsideration of its role in early cinema. This delay contained some irony, since it is during the period of early cinema that nonfiction film could claim its greatest hegemony. During the initial years oftilm history (and hence the effect ofthe decision to begin tltc rc-evalttation ofearly cinema at Brighton with wool nonfiction production greatly outnumbered the production of fiction films. Clearly tltc recent focus ofthe [994 Dotnitor conference ofthesc first five years of' production {including extensive screenings). the \iorkshop ofnonlictiott cinema from the tgros at the Nederlands |-'1lmmuseum at .-\m.sterdant, and the large-scale screenings at the Cinema I‘sitrovato at liologna and the Giornate del Cinema Mnto in l‘ordenone2 indicate that the tide has turned. The place ofnontietion filmmaking in early cinema has at least been acknowledged and has begun to be theorized and investigated. 1. ll'llS neglect lids lit-en «dame, of room? in the totem rediscovery ol early Cinema. the study of II trialin liliriioakirirl lIJu liail .l llllllllll‘l' ol powerful aclvocnttis llio work of Roland! Crisamley‘ Stntiliou lit-IIi-riioitg l llulli i. Mira-s l and nl‘lL'l't has nimfn a Vlltll tontriliotioii to l‘fllltltlll'l .unl tleliiriiitj the Issues or early nonl etiori (I'll‘lt'd IT-ut |!\. on truth these contributions, 1 beliew1 these authors would agree that rioiifiction lilinnmlong H‘llifllllfi not only less thoroughly studied than early fiction filrnmakingi but also less tnnorirt-d' 2. The third Doniitor i oriierence. ‘Cinema turns 'IOO', held ln New York in 199-1, focused on Cinema belure WOO The 1994 Amsterdam Workshop at the Nedotlands Filmmuseum locusnd on nonfiction from the teens, which is also the title oi the book published lrom its discusyons Both Bologna and Pomenone staged lesliuals Il'l WFS lUrtJ‘NiIJ on Sllf’fil nonfiction lzlms Dletn't'l'it‘S of (llfil'l’tfinlilfir-‘u: nttlttnlilies versus tlot'tttnt'nlorieh ‘ a I hat are the Issues that face Its in this task: l must stress tlta'i l feel we are at the beginning oftlns investigation. hut. as at lit-:ghton nearly two decades ago. it is important to make some preliminary observations. even ifthey can only serve as tentative hypotheses. early sttri eys and probes that provide starting points to further study, theses to be further demonstrated or perhaps discredited. A new conception of early nonfiction film must begin from a starting point similar to that of much ofthe work on early liction iilm: an ackninvledgement ot a basic difference between early nonfiction film and later documentary : lilmmaktng. This is not to deny any continuity bctuecn the tito forms or the possibility ofsotne continuous tradition. However. even if such continuity could be established .1nd a tradition fashioned from it, I believe we must confront a gaping abyss that separates the earlier and later modes ofnonliction lilmmaking. I propose that we use the already existing terms for these different periods in nonfiction filmmaking: ‘actuality‘ referring to this practice before World War I and 'thtcttmctttat’t" reserved for the practice that begins with the later period ofthe war. The dates for this periodi‘zation are certainly provisional, an area which calls for further discussion. However. I believe that the First World War itselfplays an important role in the transformation ofnonfiction filmmaking. \\'hen Iohn Lirierson introduced the term 'tlutilllttt‘tttttl't". primarily to decribe the work of Robert l-"laherty3. he did not intend the term to cmer all nonfiction filmmaking. In fact. Grier-son wished to differentiate through this term a new approach to nonfiction tilnis. lie distinguished the documentary from other films made from ‘natural material'. stich as newsreels or scientific or educational films. l-‘or Grierson the move fi'ont these earlier nonfiction forms to the documentary proper represented a transformation ‘from the plain (or fancy) descriptiom (it natural limit-rial‘ to arrangements, rcarrangements. and creative shapings ofit ,‘4 “3399191 I wi I return to the concept ofcreatiie shaping and arrangement later. bttt fo: now I \\ ant to stress (irierson’s understanding ofthis earlier mode as 3. ‘ .Lr for its tlassu [is tor the MN!" ‘dotttoientarv' n relation to film l5 usual}, tin. it as. titusrsrirt a rt-yinw of fl; nrty's '3: wart. wh ch appeareo in The New York Sun in February of Wf‘b 'liis nit-ow is reprinted .n Lu. -s Jacobs, The documentary tradition from mmooc to wonnsiti. \ ley'Vl Vm: l‘ltinl IHSJM and Blake, 19-' 'l. Up 25%. whr-rt‘ Jacobs notes that 'lor the first time he gave curiericy to the tn-m "rlocurricntaiy" in E 'glis" ' However. Charles Wolfe in ‘The poetics anc politics of nonlitmun- Elnr‘unll‘f‘l my film“ a chapter in 'i an Balro, Grand desugn Hollywood 55 .1 modern busmess enterprise, 1930 E33“) {Net-.- ‘r'nrlx Charles Summer‘s Sons. 1993). points out that this early use ol the tern" by CV ersori was 'un- srep'iimol‘ and Only lmi inie a cte'iried concept in his essays in the early lb rtIc-s tltst'l'lleL". \sf lt.tl'lcs Wolfi' points out. this tltl'fct'ctttiatuin colttutucd = lsc tliscusscd tlurunt Ihc llllt'llt's‘ mm .1 rctrt 1spcctn‘c arrangcd hy thc ayzltly inllncnttal l'ilnt lit-partmcnt at lltc Muscum ol'Modcrn .‘\rt in .\'c\\ ‘torlt City in 1911), taking as its titlc "l'ltc nonfiction film: lt‘tJItt unintcrprctcd act to doctuncntat'y‘. .-\s' Wolfc statcs, this ‘tlrcu' \\'l1.ll for many “as a tucial distinction licttyccn tltc simply “dcscriptiw” function of'carlicr w ltms of'nonfictit 1n and tltc “intcrprctiycu amhitions ol'truc doctimcntaryfft l'ltc tcrnt ‘tloctnncntary‘, tltcn, attnounccd an historical liss‘urc in tilnt uticistn and filmmaking, scparating .1 ncw and yalori/cd practicc from an ailtcr approach \yftich“ast1o\ycondcnn1cd to a sort ol'prcltistoty, With an act ol'polcmtc pcriotli/ation (iricrson .tnd othcrs scr a pattcrn Illl()\\('tl by most lnstonaus of'nonliction lilmmaking. "\i‘tcr ccrcmotual nods to thc latnucrc lirotltcrs, tlic cnorntously rich pcrtod ol'nonliction ilntmaking liclorc lilaltcrtyhasically ['L'l'l'ldlllhllllLllNCllfi‘iL‘tl‘.1\ll‘\l1l'()l.|llL'tl n a collcctiyc amncsia llois'cycr irrcsponsililc It tttay hc for coutcmporary ustortans to maintain lllis attitudc, 11 docs function as' an important tistoric signpost, 'l'hc tlocumcntary as concciycd hy (.iricrson did dill‘cr 11 mt cat'licr nonlictiou Iilnunaking practicc in significant ways. If tltc documcntary in thc Lit'icrsonian scnsc nccds to hc thcorizcd and utalyzcd from tltc yicu'point of'its ‘arrangcmcnts, rcarrangcmcnts and rcatiyc shapings“ \yhat dcfincs thc formal and pragmatic intptilscs ol'tltc tctuality film andt thcrctorc‘ strttcturcs its history? In fact, thc history of' lic actuality lilm Ii'om thc \‘icu'point of'its formal dcyclopmcnt cltallcngcs ltc ntcthods of'liistorians ol'carly film, as a charactcristically ohscryant mint math hy licn llrcu's‘tcr at [Etc [994 x‘tmstcrdat‘n Workshop dcmonstratcs, llrcn‘stcr oliscrycd that ntany nonfiction films from the tguos‘, most specially trayclogttcs, look surprisingly similar stylistically to nonfiction ilms li‘om carlicr pct'iotls. 'l'his apparcntly largcly static cyolution of- toiiliction cincma li'om. say, 1903 to 1917 contrasts sharply with tltc dynamic solution of'fiction cincnta in that pcriod, not only in rltc dcyclopmcnt of tlitittg, hut in thc clarification ol‘narratiyc form and cliaractcr dclincation. s'o film historian would confusc a fiction filtn from 1906 with onc from lgllt n thc casc Uldkllflifilitfll, hoiycs'cr, tltc stylistic traits show considcrahlc lcss :‘It‘tcrcntiatii m otcr Ilic samc pcriod. {\s llrctystcr put it at tltc workshop. u Infiction filnts ‘don‘t sccnt to csist in thc rcgimc ol'stylistic prcsstu'c that as clc.1rly thcrc for fiction filnuttakcrsfélnaye13) 1. l ust principles on ilmumt-ntnry‘ m rotsyth Hardy (ed), Grierson on documentary {Now YOIis. Harcourt, ‘1l("anEJCO.‘ WM) 9 1130 ll! 5 501 hon is ruilcd from an article nngumffy published in 1932111 Cinema Knutwly - Charis“; \Nult‘u‘ up in , :- 3"15 ()1‘t'lllll'st'.“11(ng stylistic dcyclopmcnts cntails lcartunyg ‘-.\ in“. to look fortransfiu'maluIns.\'tc\\int;.1larucrnumhcrofcarlt attualut lfl‘l‘ts docs alcl'l us to a numlicr ol'lorntal/tcchnual translot‘mattons tlui my, this1L‘J‘l0tl.'l‘ltt‘gl'tmrlt(Jl'mttlttisl‘ltll lilnts‘ ccrtainly dillcrcntiatcs tlic actuality films of‘thc carly 190th front thosc ol‘thc 1890s, which \\'ct'c rcstrictcd to singlc shotst 'l'ltc dcyclopmcnt ot'cditiny, in actuality film. \t'hilc not as programmatic .ts iii the liction film, noncthcfcss displays conccrns for clarity and logic in thc prcscntation ol'inlormation, as H] thc ‘proccss lilm‘ in which one sccs tltc succcssiyc stagcs ot'industrial or handicraft manufacturing {which I discuss latcr in this cssayt. sonic ctliting practiccs changc rathci' carly. l:1!l‘ll1.sl.l|‘I(C.IltL'L'.tl'ltL‘\T actuality films. li'tll‘tt tltc linmicrcs on‘ madc strong lI\L' ol'camct'a Hltll‘l‘latit‘s lntomcttts \s ltcn tltc canicra has stoppctl filming, llll‘l] I'csumcs shooting li‘ont thc samc position hut with an cllipsis' nl'action t; ytctycrs today oltcn don't noticc this important tool in cat'ly actuality lilmntaking, or tftcy Allll'll‘lllL' thc \‘isiiilc jump in action to .1 splicc in thc lilm.7 Around I905 (or possibly carlicr] thcsc stoppang hccatnc ratc and 'jtllnps' within shots u'crc rcplaccd by actual cuts to dif'fcrcnt shots; ],ikc\\'tsc tltc incrcascd usc ol‘intcrtitlcs in actuality tilms altcr 1903 or so rcflccts not only .1 changc in prcscntational strategy (possibly as a rcsult of' a gradual ahamlonmcnt of' thc lccttu'crl, but also a dcsirc to tnakc actuality lilmmaking ntorc scll— sui'ficicnt in its organizational Astt'atcgics. Hou‘cycr. a ccrtain consistcnt scrics ol'stratcgics and lhcmatics in carly actualitics rcmains. making such stylistic transformations sccm morc likc tcchnical t‘cfincntcnts than the cqniyalcnt to thc radical translin'matuins in fiction films of'thc lirst nyo dccadcs. Accounting for this apparcnt lack of radical transformations should not Icad its to think oi'thc nonliction film as sontcltt )n' stagnant or" \yorsc yct. rctardcd in rclation to liction lilm. Modcls of ncccssary stylistic progrcss distort our scnsc ol'tiltn ltlsttiI‘y_ The radical dcyclopntcnt ofiilm stylc in thc liction film during tltc cat'ly tunes dcriycs fi'ont thc nccd to dryclop charactcrs and cstahlish clcar paltct'tts of tcmporality as lltt'sC films took on I1L'\\',111()TL' C(il]‘|plL‘\ modcls ol'story- tcllinLt and attcntptcd to aclticyc an autonomous niodc of'contprchcn- . .silnlity. Unc could attrihutc thc t'cl.tli\‘c lack ol'dcs'clopmcnt in Ilic nonliction Iilm to thc fact that thc csistcnt motlcs ot'filnt .stylc rcmaincd 6 th‘wstt-i's - t‘l'ilnfk‘Wo tli‘llt'tif: on [1 J3 til Dot-n l-‘r-‘tuir. F. Ntrn an Mth tt-w- ;'-_‘ v r..' -'-i--v- fi-p teens. me 1994' Amsteuiam l-‘t’oo‘rshop (Amstut-iam' Ncoerlands Filmfi‘ll‘if‘lff‘ll 1994‘ 7. 506‘ Andrr} (it: Icy-wme 'Du‘ Gllf’lflue‘. i.tJures tlc montage dans la production Lummn- ‘ t pay-.4 (ls-Involotl to lllt‘ c'rwuiros I tannin- at tlm ltJnlUL'ltsfll‘ Litton-'crLynn P [If ‘ftl ltuw t'W'w‘i. l. 1 | !~ u'ruwtusn of I-‘:-s Dractice in lull!”be lilrns entirely tfi’i'rtn'r lor the genres then practised In other words. I feel that the aims .lllll purposes litr nonlicuon Iilntinalting during the early lUlth rand therefore the formal models for nonfiction lilntst had changed very little since ahout woo. Since the available and familiar forms served these purposes quite ct'lectively, there was little tt‘toti\‘.ttion for transformation.E The. '\'io\v' .‘iurslht-lit' What, then, was the model for nonfiction filntinaking which lam claiming was relatively consistent from around 1906 or so until World \\.'ar l and which the fairly .stt‘atghtlorward descripthe style of. filming served so well? While there are certainly many different sorts of nonfiction films during this period, i would maitttain that a particular aesthetic subtends or could embrace tnost ofthis diversity. This L’tj/iirttt of early nonfiction film I propose to call the ‘view‘. With this term. frequently used by contetttporaries to describe early actuality films (as well as, before lilm, photographs ofplaces or events of'interest), l mean to highlight the way early actuality films were structured around presenting something visually, capturing and preserving a look or vantage point. in this respect the ‘vieu" clearly forms part of what i have called the ‘cinema of attractions‘, the emphasis found in early cinema upon the act of‘display and the satisfying ol'yisual curiosity? As an actuality a ‘vicw‘ makes a greater claim to recording an event ol'ttatural or social history, while attractions inclttde artificially arranged scenes enacted precisely to arouse and .sate the spectator‘s curiosity. However, a dif‘feret‘ttiation between the arranged and tlte simply recorded is .so difficult to maintain or demonstrate that I do not wish to draw this line too firn‘tly. ‘Views' tend to carry the claim that the subject filmed eitlter pre-esisted the act ()l-lilttting (a landscape. a social custom, .1 method of'work) or would have taken place even it‘the camera had not been there (a sporting event, a funeral, a coronation), tlttts claimittg to capture a view of‘something that maintains a large degree ol‘independence from the act of filming it. Clearly there are degrees of'indcpendence and borderline cases that blur .stteh distinctions. But I feel that the What" as opposed to the ‘aet' or ‘scene' delineates a perceived distinction hetncen actuality and staged films during tlte early era ol'lilm history. Needless to say, both ‘views‘ and ‘acts‘ could function as attractions. l]. llu- 1w tJl‘l Inu. lI-il sh -.t Il‘ -I.u of I‘.lfly tit KIIFIIL'l'llt'Ily ltlnv. Sstnlilu-ri Rottomtito lTi‘ILlI' .i similar point at ‘hr {\rttsltjfritlltl Wm- shop. lttfllll'll'ttj out early rinromcotary‘s s'mnq inlmtitnnt e of \drSUdl forms from tnr- liltifflfi .‘antm- lt-Llufl' out. I_-ultt'(} t lm st-c- Hurtogs 8. de fsietlv, no (if. p 33 9. 'llw (IHL'H a of .illlnt tmm 1n;th hint, ifs spot tarot and the .mmt gatdu‘ in thomtss Elsaesser {ed l, tariy (menu spat-y Ittiniw, nattahs-J (ltintlon British Film Instttufa 1990}, pp. 553:3 To my mind the most characteristic qtality oi‘a ‘\ie-a‘ hes in the way it mtmes the act oliloolttng and observing. In other wool». in .lwzt't itlsl experience a ‘vtew‘ liltn as a presentation ol'a place. an c\ cut or a process‘ but also as the mimesis ot'the act of'ohservittg. The camera literally acts as a tourist, spectator or investigator, and the pleasure in the lilm lies in this surrogate ol'looking. The primary indication oi‘tltis mode ot'observation lies itithc clear .tckntnvledgement ol' the camera's presence. l‘eople filmed respond to the camera, either through looks or gestures directed to“ ards it. or through the way they present their actions to it, demonstrating a work process or custont. Likewise the camera‘s placement tends to take the best view possible ot'the action. and one senses its placement as being far from casual. In .1 ‘view‘ the world is presented to the camera. and therefore to the spectator. While my description ol"\'ie\\'s‘ may sound simple to the pomt of tatttologv 7 a film showing something 7 the films Tltclt‘lscl\‘cs are far from simplistic. .-\s I hope to demonstrate by contrasting them with later documentaries, these liltns do take on a certainrquality partly tltrottgli_tlte things they dim 'r do. in addition, the forms of‘showing and observing in these films are quite varied and their apparent simple styles are well adapted to a variety of'tasks. Two large genres of“\'iew‘ films are evident in a survey ofearly nonfiction films (although there are others). These genres allowed ‘views‘ to become more than single shots and organized a number ofsingle views within a larger, multi—shot logic ofesposition. First, there are the films which tour and present locations, an organization based on space and plaee presented as a series ol'vicu's. Secondly. there are the films dedicated to activities and processes, views strung together with a temporal, rather than a spatial, organization and with a more determinate sequential logic of"transformation 'Vieav' (genres: [)lm't‘. and promss nlike tlte single shot films typical of'the turn of the century. the U‘place films‘ from at least 1906 on edit together a series ol‘sltttts‘ in order to provide a rich and varied sense of'locale. These films include scenes ol'cities‘ rural areas or even a tour ofa foreign country. While the imagery may capture either natural landscapes, man-made structures or combination of'both. the selection of'shots serves to develop a variety of sights - much like a tourist album - and to articulate an aesthetic that would remain remarkably consistent in travelogue liltns oi'l'utnre decades. The view of the tourist is recorded here, placing natural or cultural sites on display; but also t‘niming the act ol'visttal appropriatitm‘ the mun-al- and cultural consumed as rights. I‘erhaps nowhere is the dramatizing of the act oftistial appropriation more palpable than in the many ‘phantoiii itdt" Iilnis ol this eta, lill]1\'-.lHIl from moting \eliit'les{primarily trains. but also autos andI |1o.iisi moving through a landscape or urhan environment. These films. still \isually powerfttl today, place on \ietv the unfolding \ istial hora/on. the sense ofan eye moving througlt space. clearly Running the act ofseeitig as much as the sight to he seen. In phantom rides, place and act ofseeing hecome dynamically interrelated through the creation ofa view in motion, foregrotinding the unique appetites ofthe tilm medium for both the visual and the mohile. 'fhe longevity ofthe phantom ride genre stands as another indication of the basic coherence ofthe ‘view’ aesthetic for nearly two decades of film history. At the same time, I sense some translormatitin in the genre. .1 transfer from an earlier form which emphasized both landscape atid the novelty ofthe mobile gale cutting through space, to a later form which primarily stressed the unfolding landscape and directed attention away li‘om the technology ofthe movie camera .tnd mode oftransport. 'fliese later phantom rides seem more contemplative, less attuned to the thrills of last locomotives. stidden curves and looming tuttnels than to the natural panorama spread hefore the viewer. For instance, HL’RNJHM Iti‘t-HIICS‘O passes by the natural forms ofa grove oftrees, creating .i lcisurelv pace tonveyed by .i smooth, jarless movement, a retlective rhythm of contemplation further guaranteed by the soft dissolves that link shots. Uiie not otin loses oneseifiii this natural imagery, one has no sense of whether one is transported by train or car or other means. The mohile means. once the centre ofsucli phantom rides, is now only the vehicle for a communion with nature. This contrasts sharply with the modes of reception ofcarly train films, with their emphasis on speed, danger atid sensation.“ The modality ofthe ‘view‘ is open to a variety tJf.1ppt'(lacltes. The spatial unfolding and linking that forms the structure ofthes'e ‘place ftlnis‘ gives way to temporal strategies in the iilms which offer .i new ofa process. whether the production ofa consumer good through a o implex industrial process, the creation ofan ohjeet through traditional t raft, or the detailing ofa local custom or festival. While sttch tiliiis also make use ofa spatial logic. as the films present a \ariety ofi‘icnpoiiits on lo.l‘lt‘u'iltlf.|.1l-til Fil .tJiiniwiiiiigoom{Herrera-1h)I909 Nl'lVA print, London 11. ‘ine tiiy'”Tl1t_= Mrlhtllr‘ wrir‘ii s‘nillllt mach" tmvt‘l images. wnlmui borders' in Roland Coiandey St ‘raneois Alticta (eds }_ Ctt‘unhl sans hunltems t896~19181mages Withom borders Aspects d9 i-ntematmnattté oat-15 ir- Cinema Inondtal repress-matron; marche, influences at receptor: / Iiitmnationalrty in wrultl cinema representations, markets. influences and reception (Laiisannc Payot I 'Juobec Null Shawl 1-. WWI»). tip 2l-3i‘i Ih an action tespecially in films ofindustrial processes. \vliitli partly funition .ts factory toin'si. tlicir dominant organi/ation principle is tciiipoiaL detailing the stages ofa process in a logical order. (,leaily many Iiliiis coinliufe these two orders oflogic, hotli spatial exploration and temporal evplication. showing that the structure of viewing and construction of 'view‘ actualities can indeed he complex. While hotli these forms rely primarily on strttctures ofsuceession‘ devices such as cut -itts to closer I views or to details allow a degree ofeditiiig sophistication. especially alter 1906 or so. The increased temporality ofthe process tilms brings them closer to narrative form. Though clearly lacking the consistent diegesis and creation ofcliaracter that the lictioii lilni oftliis period strove to achieve land which produced the ‘regime ofstyhstic pressure‘ that Brewster speaks of). While rooted still iii a descriptive approach, recurring narrative patterns are evident in many of these films. The most fully developed narrative pattern is the translormatioii of raw material into eonsumahle goods. lit many ofthese tilms the narrative process moves from opening scenes ot raw material through the various stages of production to culminate in ,1 scene ofdeliglited consumption. l-"ilnis such as tin .\l-\Nl’|-'\( "I t'iu' oi \\'.\J.K|I\'Li siit its” and all ssits. l‘-\RI,U\\'.\ND IUNI'A LII‘L, .\t.\.\'('t|].‘-'l'I-.l{AND notros'w. l‘t]1ll.‘-l1ti\\t] at [ltL‘ mt); l‘ordenone film lestival, hegin with unloading of raw materials tsticks, cotton) .it factories. Similarly such process tilms as MAKINti t uiusiatts (IL\( Ki-IB”. \D \Y IN l'llli l.ll'l-. Ul‘ AN I-Ntill‘ili ('HAl. .\ll.\'l'|{15. t1t'('l'l'i'1‘lsl- i i iu-t oi 'i'i-. |)|-..s I‘().\'i.\ll:s' .-\ \\'.-\'~iillN(i'l'().\‘1°, shown at the same festival, end with scenes ofpleasurahle consumption ofthe manulactured good within a comfortahlc or even glamorous bourgeois interior. This “'Jlt‘s'tltl‘y from raw material to consumable product enacts amhasic narrative ol'industrial capitalism, already sketched by l‘rmce Albert in his plan for the displays in the IHSI Crystal Palace relating raw material to finished products”, and rehearsed in world fairs and school text in iolts for decades. Work not only translorms. it mediates hetween nature and 12. '-ii -.-. t s-r .v..-.o '. ’i'ii -~ Umtnl ls-ntiitiioi (Hirith ‘l‘ih' "Jl "s'a‘unwi I t “I 13. L'I‘Ws its-.1 mm If Hts ‘t‘ . war -its‘t t- .wt- In it t: it, United Kiniirw'im. "MU Hi WA out i, Inndnn 14. sun I. H-4 slums: mitts ,Un-ied Mngaom [Clocks and Maiiiol 1910 NI' IVA print titrait .\ 15. L it. 'Hi L >t oi AN {Mans-u (LA-Kt MINER, Unites Kingdom (htnnio; W10 NF'W-"i paint, l tie-.1 m 16. :‘u'. 'thi’ 1': Fr 'a‘-t tits Pramats t. 'it’u'L\NlN(:iD'J, ;Ut‘alced States. iAlYVQ‘ICdH tZ-tn FMS-t F’iini ‘mn Lobster Film 17. Que. Thorns Richards. The commodity culture of View-nan Britain Jifidu‘frl‘ltf‘i: aw.- s;~n;:.t;io 78517 19H {StanlOtti Stanlo‘ri Uni-:t-Isity Press, l‘NOJ, f- 78 :111'c, 1111'1111' heueiit 111'1he comlortable classes. The 1.'1.1ss basis 1and ot'this 11.11'1'.11;\c is especially clear 111 1 :1.\1'1\ 1111-1111 111-.111 .11s11 111.11 .\11.\11’1,\\'lii1_'l] opens with .1 miner leaving his cottage and itly 1111' work. The penultimate shot shows hint returning home. but 1111.11 interior shot 111'111gs11s,11111 intotlte 111111e1"sltome, but presents a .11ortable tniddle class 1.11111ly gathered around tltc hearth and warmed :he coal he mined. l‘crhaps the most dramatic tracing ofthts traleetory 111's111 11’111'1'11ss1-1x1 11s 1:.1trx (2111-;\'1-lt‘.\'13, which begins with .1 series 1.111s around .1 small Breton town square and market in which women 1' gathered to have their long hair cut 11111.1 gathering 1111.111 material 1111-11111 1111'111111111'111s1' up). 1111' processot‘cutting, gathering, sorting, hug, and finally sewing this hair ittto wigs and hair pieces is detailed, 1mg to tlte last shot which shows .1 glamorous bourgeois “111111.111 in iiunt close 11p taking111'1‘111'1‘1111t.then removing 1:11.11» hair pieces, and i111g, fetchingly .11 cautera. 1111111111; 1111: look s (irierson indicated, tlte printary mode 111-these eariy lilms was 1111'scriptive. While clearly tltey cannot claim to present .111 tmtoucltcd reality (however mythical such a concept might be), their ‘interterence‘ 1 reality, the means by which they shape it, centre on tlte act ol‘ .1ng and describing. Actions and people may be arranged s11 111.11 the era can get .1 better look at them, bttt this arrangement is 1111‘ the most l'ttllv evident in the manner in whiclt people acknowledge tlte catnera asplay their talents, costumes or physical characteristics to it. I believe (irierson was right in declaring 111.11 tltis style ol'fihttmaking was quite '1ent fi'ottt tlte creative shaping ofthe 111ate1'ial which he felt defined .1oeuntentary 111111. complex ideologically as these process and place films may be, arsing as well as shaped by narratives ofcolonialism and consumer are, nonetheless they 1111111111131111311 IDL‘E]Q\"_.1CSL1]CUC. The nate act 111‘c1111s11111ptio11 in tltese 111111s is tlte audience's act of'viewtng; escrytlting r people,piaces,.1ud things - is 111'I'erc1l 11111111‘ new 11'1'ingly this 1s 111.11'111'11 by tlte returned look 111'people within 11111111111, 1.1/e directed 11111 .11 camera and viewer which translixes 1111' act of- mg as central to the descriptive mode, tlte act of'display as' tlte 1.11'y act 111‘1111' filmmaker. 'l'hese 111111s1111e11 sltowa range ol'these 111ed looks (li‘om the shv laughter of'thc women abotlt to have their cut to the coquettish gave 111' the woman removing her hau' pieces in I .‘ll-PNN‘ 111.1.211- 111 '1 in 1 1.111111 (121111.11 190‘) CNC print, Bors ti'Arcy '111 11111‘.‘ \'11 NE! .‘4'1 1.1s I.\1'K 1 11|\'1-l'X),.111d even itte‘ot'poratc scenes where such looks are .t\111dcd tthe staged sequences 111-1111' 111111c1 11211111}: and returning to 111s cottage 111.11111‘ 1.\' 1111 1111-111 .sN1-..\'1.11s111111: \ust 1-1. in which he at oids looking at 1111' camera, contrasting sharply with the shot 111 the same 111111, 11111'1111111'1'11 with the intet'title ‘1‘1elles 111'1111' 111.1111 Diamond l'i1.'11l‘,in which women workers smile at a \oyeut'tsttc panning c.1111era 11 1'111\\cvcr,111 the construction 111'tlte liltns the primacy olthe view aiiirms ttsclf'. Ii'these images 11nd their place within ideological Mfr-How. this place is as 1111-1311711 110111.11. .1 site,— and 11111 a diegetic story incident or part 111.111 articulated social or political argument. The social attitudes here are prercststeut, rather than argued, and the images hardly sC1'\'t.' .ls L‘\‘111L'11(L'. While 111.111_\'ae111ality tilms exemplify 1111s aesthetic ol the ‘1'ie11 ‘, 111111 travelogucs and process fiims being perhaps the clearest examples. the desire evident 111 these films to provide .1 nearly endless and (ideally) exhaustive catalogue 111-views 1111111- world reached .1 climax in the films shot for Albert liahn and his utopian project 111"].1'1'111'1'1'11'111'1 111‘ [11 1111111111", 111 the 19105 and 1920s. Although this iltscinating phenomenon calls 1111' more invdepth research than I ltave yet undertaken, the filtns that have been made available li‘om this archive on video reveal .1 fascinating archaeology oi'the nonfiction films through a peerless demonstration and an encyclopedic collection of'the 'view' aesthetic. Kahn was a rich l‘arisi'an banker of‘the early ttventieth century, who supplemented his other philanthropic cultural and social endowments with the project of collecting on 111111 a series of‘motion picture images fi'om around the world, seizing, as he pttt 11,1111- where it exists. '1‘hese lilms consist predominantly not ofedited doctnnentaries esplicating social customs 111' political events, but rather simply ol'views 1.1.1.1111- 1111- around the world: modes 111‘drcss, city streets, nattonal ‘types’, native festivals, religious cttstotns, processes ot‘agrieulture and handicralL 'l'aken collectivelv the films construct an exotic panorama 111-the planet 1111 display, the ultimate cinematic World Exposition. l‘erhaps the most c\traordtna1‘v ol‘thesc short lilms is .1 shot 111.111 lndochinese\1'11111an, filmed tapparentlv 1111‘11‘111desty's sake) 11111 1111111111 as she undresses {or the camera, revealing both the layers ot‘native clothing and her body.19 The sense 111'1'111'e111'is111 as a source (il'the desire 1111' knowledge 1111‘the ()Illcr. 01' llts' bodvl is so boldly demonstrated by this 111111 that 11 stands as 19. My knowlecgc (it the 111115 Loinmtssiuried by Albert Kn‘tn,s-.1111ch are plt’blér‘n‘ I 111; 1111 1‘.‘ mm .1114ng Kab" m Paris (.Uf‘1es'l'0'1‘1 the writ-0111119111 FLAME 1'1 .'-.£1117' 111.1111, whlth .nc stitw; 11-.- iii”: 1 L‘s-".111 ltna'dt Jeanne Roadside-11 11111111100111 1111119 Mosul, for making 1 ave-1.11111; 111 run I” a sort ol'conlcssion ol'thc drn'cs hchind thc ‘\‘ic\\ ‘ acsthcttc. As this film rct'cals. c\'cn thcsc simplc tntcditcd lilms atc hardlr hcrclt ol' idcologt' ta wholc \‘ticahttlart‘ ol'colontal and scust garcs is ttnlitrlctl hcrc), but it is an idcology contatncd within thc litscinating suhtcrlitgcs and rcs'clatiotts ol'thc Ioolgt ()nc is always awarc - and I hclict'c this is tt'tlc ol‘all thc carlt‘ actuality iiltns [ am dcscrihing hcrc 7 Mia drama stagcd hctwccn catncra .tnd snhjcct. thc ohs’crs‘cr and thc ohscrtctL and nltiniatch', thc ‘\'it'\\" and thc atttlicncc. 'l'hcsc ‘ricn's‘ rcptcscnt a sort of primal cwhangc and CHL‘UUIHL‘I' cotttaincd in thc act (ll-ltttaklng with all its possihlc sccnarius ('Il‘LlK'll'llll'lt'lllL'L" curiosity, scdttction‘ ohicctilication and ctcn itlcnltlication. lior Liricrson thc doctnttcntar_\' wcnt hct'ontl this primary cncotmtcr. llt}\\'C\'cI', just as I harc tnatntaincd that thc acsthctic ofattractions- pt‘t'sis‘ts in a lcss ohs‘ious liirtn within latcr lictional lilms, the staging of thc look ccrtainh' stthtcntls much olilatcr doctnncntary practicc, inclttdingt CYCIL HHILll ol's.-\.s;oott int. NUIHJI. Hut thc tloctttncnt.tr_\' tnm'cs hcyond tantl ohscttt'Cs or" pcrhapst camottllagcs) this primal act ot‘looking through its crcatitc rcshapiny, and tlramatizing oti‘natural matcrial‘. Undotthtctllr ctliting plays a kcy rolc in thc rcstructuring ot' matcrial that tlcfincs thc adrcnt ol'thc tlocuntcntary. I Would claim that cs'cn though actuality lilms malx‘c olicn sophisticatcd usc or‘cdiring, tltc ‘\'icw‘ pris'ilcgcs thc rclation hctwct'n catncra and subject. Editing hasicalls‘ plat's' thc rolc ol'prm'iding a sncccssion ol'ricws1 whct‘hcr spatially (as in thc travcloguct or tcntporalh' (as in thc films ofproccss). This cditing can lac qttitc clcgant‘ includng cnt fins to closcr views or .1 truly crcativc scnsc ol' ittxtaposing tlit'lL-rcnt points ol‘vicw [such as ccrtain phantom ridc tilms which vary thc anglc Ii'otn which thc passing. landscapc is sccn) with gracc nt‘ scnsational cllL'ctsc lint thc cditing docs not posscss thc santc tlri\'c touard drainati/ing and rhythm that can hc titnnd in Iiction lilms ol‘this pcriod, \\ hcrc articulation hctwccn difltrcnr shots tncrcasinglt‘ hccomcs .tn ctprcssitc motlc ol'nat'ration antl idcological commcttt, War and NV .1!"‘;Hl mail or intangc‘h :: :~ .1i\\.i\ \ .-. tit-:tluns task l-‘ {it to timttaicatc h:srt~t:cal i it _ ; woods in acsthctit piacttcc and lm'atc a transtitrinattnn in st} lc \\ ith t‘l\‘\-I\IK‘H. l l‘chcw ti'ont nn \icuin}: Ul‘IllL' tilttts tron] tltc Min-s shtmn at ..‘.c Isl-14 .-\instci.iant “vi-Lshnp that ont- can locatc thc transtitrmatton .uin tltt‘ '\it \i' to thc .t'ncuntcntart in .t pcrtntl sotncnhat carltcr than ‘\\l tits 0:» mt suitor lcl inc tcstatc in scmmtic tctms Lirtcrson‘s ttlca -r Ihc doctnncntatt as Iltt‘ t'cshaptng ol'ttatttral tnatcrial. “1' could ‘t'st I'll‘t‘ this traitstoiinatinn limit ‘\'it‘\\' to tlocttntclllart as a ntmc from 24. A Quanta-5"“ r' this Wage is reoroti-ce\: " He'iu: lilms conccit'ctl as a look to a film litrtn which C'llll'lk‘tltlL'Ll its t-nagcs in a largcr argttmcnt and ttscd thosc itnagcs as ct'idcncc to stihstaatiatc or Intcnsili' its disconrsc. Not surprisingly this transliu'tnation lwmmcs cxtrcmch' \‘isthlc in thc lilms that arc tnadc during, World \\'ar [ as propaganda liir onc sidc or thc othct'. Although thcrc \t'crc ttndouhtcdlt' .1 lai'ttc numlwcr of such tilmx. matlc, somc ol'thc liltns at thc Amstcrdant \'\’orkshop stand out lot thctr strongh' drsctirsitcarrangcmcnt lilrlll].1l.1L'.‘ll]tllC\I tnortlt‘rtt-ptt‘scnt argtnncnts almut thc conrsc ol'thc (ircat War. 'J'hcsc tilnts incltttlc Itt\‘nt-..\' |.\' ottttt Host IInZOt \‘I-l(.\‘ll‘ I‘tt:t.\'t. ttltl I st st lll’l‘l'N2l1.llltl DIR/1 t't‘t tlx- tNt-ltll-l \L‘l lNkil,-\.\'l‘123.r\\(il'lt'll'lL'N t\lttsscr pointctl ottt‘ thc lirst two ol- thcsc tttlcs atc gorcrntncnt liltns which lliL'Ll to cstahlish or dcnt' clanns ul' datnagc inllictcd on thc cncmt', and thus lorcground thctr ‘ct'ttlcntiart' t'unction‘.23 'l'hct' cmploy liltn imagcs in ordcr to mow a thcsis whosc main clattns arc carried in an accotntmm'ing \'crhal discourse, usually cmhodictl in thc liltns‘ intcrtitlcs. ln lHNm-IN |.\‘ ootttoostnn this \‘t‘rhal discoursc is cvcn cnthodicd in some oftltc shots thcmsclrcs, sttch as [hosc in which a man stands in a I‘Jllll‘llWI' ol‘protnincnt sin-s in ntctropolitan London holding a placard which hcars thc datc ‘Scpt. 3,6 ll)l“‘.2‘ 'l‘hc datc thus inscrihcd into this ricw makcs an cvidcntiart' claim in an argttmcnt about thc cxtcnt ol'dcstrnction cattscd in London h_\' (icrman homhinsr attacks hcliirc this datc. .-\s Nicholas Hilct' dcmonstratctl at this workshop‘ such imagcs can cvcn hc arrangcd to makc an argumcnt which in Fact is cotttt'adictcd h_\' thc it‘nagcs thcmsch'cs. pt‘tn'lthLl .t \lL‘\\'CI'l1-1.\' ccrtain knowlcdgc (for instancc, in nt—tt xt-zt't'tztaNa-txt:IttI-I- .tt't l,_\'t'.|..-\.\'l3 Hilct' could idcntifjc thc Zcppclin liiotagc as showing prcwar flights and thc imang ofdcstruction in England as showing thc rcsttlt til-llthdl raids rathcr than air .tttacksL25 "’(Icrtainlt' it \tottltl hc an tn'crsimpliticatittn to claim that thc carltcr 't‘icn ‘ films arc cntirch innoccnt ol'largcr discottrscs‘ ‘lit pick and crittttttc thc tt'rms ol'thc .\lttsctnn ol .\lotlcrn ."tt‘t nonlictinn tctrospt't'lnc li‘ont MW. in cinctna thcrc is no such thing as thc ‘unintcrprctcd titct'. .\'o intacc is :ttnnccnt ntulcolugrcal assumptions and tftc \\I!I.}\ n3 thc limit 20. r .. 7, ' 7 '. '_ ’:7;s-;:‘*' 'L' In ’1' ti , z .3 )t t: 25. See .‘I “w 5 ccititnttvtts .n Hwtug; 3 dc lslt'rk p A? urn-n... m. _.. eschanged betu ecn camera and subject or screen and spectator can be .ptitc complcs l-ttrtltcr. as ('harles Musser would be the first to point out. early nonfiction films were the genre ot‘early productions most likely to be accompanied by a lecture which could place these views in a variety ol- discursiw contests. l-‘inally. audiences would undoubtedly receive an nnagc in terms orpreconceived discursive contexts (such as the narratives ol‘production and consumption embedded itt the process filnts' discussed earlier) and tend to fit them into already learned discourses. But the contrast that the Mttsetun ol'Modcrn Art wished to draw remains significant in its differentiation, even if naive in its attitttde toward representation. .-\ dill‘erence in the degree, methods attd purposes of interpretation and argutncnt separate ‘viesv‘ films and docutnentaries. I believe that the birth ol'the documentary appears, as (irierson puts it, when the filntie material has been rearranged, has been placed into an explicit discursive context through editing and intertitles. Rather than a succession ol'yicws, the documentary lasltions li‘om its images an articulated argument, as in the wartime liltns discussed, or a dratttatic structure based on the basic vocabulary of continuity editing and the creation ol‘characters borrowed from fiction filmmaking. as in .\';\.\'()1)K. ‘l'hcrelore, l contrast the riot" a descriptive tnode based on tlte act of looking and display, with the ducttmentmjt, which is a tnore rhetorical and discursive lorm inserting images into a broader argument or dramatic limit. The ‘view‘ relies tnore on individual shots, while the documentary creates a larger. closer structured context for these images. In the documentary individual shots lose much oftheir independence as separate ‘yiews‘ and become instances ol'cvidenee or illustration within an argtnnent or story. Such structures depcttd on a closer weave ol'edited relations (including .1 greater use ol‘the codes ol'ctmtinuity editing in the films which create characters or stories), and a greater reliance on intertitles to explain or interpret the images. Issues ol‘accuracy attd evidence become loregrounded in the documentary, largely because the authenticity ol‘tlte intage becomes part ol'tlte argument (and therefore issues ol't'aking evidence, as the Zeppelin film). Specific claims otXtccuracy are much looser in the ‘vtew‘, which permits manipulations ol'the image for their spectacular ellects (such as the magical trick el'l'ect appearance of satin Claus in the bourgeois parlour .tt the end ot‘stastxo ('tttus'rstas t l{.t\(‘K|L|{.\).1I1d\\l1lel1{ltet'(li)t'e don‘t undermine any truth clatnt. t Lookit 1"}, liolh \s'tiys: llio titnhitfigttily of Hit: 'vit-w‘ want to etnpltasire again that this contrast does not absolx: films Ilium any expression ol‘tdeology. llowevet" 1 do Iccl that the enormous - attd neglected s fascination ol‘these early ‘yiew‘ lllltts lies in their thorough and olien complex exploration ol'tlie look in a manner outside Ul-[lIC creation olu fietiottal spaeee dramatic structure or character development. These films present fiir llsia new conception ol \‘Istum which technological revolutions in photography and in transportation made possible. and whereby all the sights in the world and its people were made subject to a new roving Form (JFYlSlOl‘J and representation, Following in the footsteps ol'the stcteoscttpe and t‘nagic lantern views‘ actuality filmmaking developed and exploited a new form ola tsual curiosity. The addition ol‘ntotion photography not only added a temporal dimension to these earlier view lornts, but allowed the drama of the look to develop a more dialogic relation to its filmed subjects, whose laces and gestures gained a further expressiveness andiindepentlence as they were liltned in time. Both the movement through the landscape available itt phantom rides and the expressiveness ot'a darting glance or .1 mobile countenance show the new forms ot‘experieuce and knmvledge available tltrough the motion pictttre view. A view which cottld be mobile and a lorm which could record the mobility of'tilmed subjects opened up a new realm ol'visttalization. pictttring new phenotnena lot the curious observer, as \\ ell as recording instances ol'resistance to the dotninancc ottlte touristic or colonial gaze.” The aesthetic ol‘the ‘view‘ in early actuality filntmaking has been neglected by a film history which has generally followed the contours of citietna‘s main mode ot'econotnic development the fiction film. lint. ntore scandalously, it has also been radically repressed by the ol'ficial history ot'documentary filnt (certainly no history ol narrative film could consider passing over the decades li'om the th'oos to [lie talus with the same silence that the canonical histories (ll-LlHL'lllllL‘lll.lI‘_\‘ display as they skip blithely from Lumiere to Halterty). It would seem that the documentary needs [or has needed) somehow to‘disaslaw this intensely rich earlier tradition (just as the ‘flysonstheswall‘ aesthetic ol':\tneriean cinema \‘etite seemed to disavow the dynamic power ol'the camera‘s gun in cinema). The motivation for this repression must be carefully examined. and l 21L Miriam Hanson made a telaled pOll’“. about resistance to not discossttas cit ta .s-i -. u.th JUMWOW tt-‘wLn Ix L-t kAl‘JHIBZ-J s: U? t-t Antigua LANttt w I uaRttN itawstw's At r. t .‘.ll.:\ '.t v. . any ma s tut mum SEA ISLANDS t' AMONG 1HE CANNIBAL IS.ES t.':t 1H: 50am Meir-c. (Uri-ten States. IUl'fi. NFIV print) at the Amstmdam Workshop See Henogs E: de Klerk. p. 58 don't want to rush into conspiratorial scenarios. However, it seems to me that the most li‘eqttcntly given reason liar [his neglect. the belie-[that this early material remained too raw. too ciose to reality and bereft ol'artistic or conceptual shaping (compared to the more ‘cooked' documentary). doesn‘t take lts‘ very far. I believe, rather, that ‘view’ films made the litshioners ol'the documentary tradition uncomfortable. because they reveal the ambiguous power relations ol‘the look so nakedly. The voyeurism implicit in the tourist, the colonialist. the filmmaker and the spectator is laid bare in these films, without the naturalization ot‘dramaue structure or political argument. 'l‘hes‘e ‘views’ stage for us the impulse towards ‘iust looking‘ so important to our modern era; and we have learned in the work on visual culture over the last decades that ‘iust looking‘ is never just about looking. The mass ot'actuality films from the first decades ol‘lihn history in out arehives around the world are ripe for rediscovery and re-examination. ‘l‘hey constitute a neglected and, indeed, repressed aspect of film history. They present an incredibly rich reserve of‘it‘liormation about the tiiundation ot‘our modern culture, not only for the vast variety ot'things displayed as audiences attd filmmakers sought to slake a seeming inexhaustible \isual appetite, btit also the demonstrations ol'this' modern \isual curiosity itsell'. l’rom these films we gain access to a viewing practice which was one ol'the foundations ol'our modern world. .-\nd from them we can also rethink and reliirinttlate the tradition olth:cumcntary, a tradition filled with both beauties and terrors, scenarios of power and resistance. turning on the act ot'looking and the creation of'the view. his essay is an expanded and revised version of the essay ‘\'or der Diiktnnentarfihu: li't'ther nonfiction l-‘ihne und die Asthetik der “Ansieht‘”, published in xltifi't'ufle (fer tirilciimrn{twist/Jen Fiburtllasle: H'troemli-ld / lirankfiu't am Main: RoterStern, mug], pp_ lll'llL Kthop. .4. wish to thank the bold and imaginative archivists ol'the Nederiands liilmmuseum in r‘tlttstet‘dant for their staging ol'the “’ol'ksltop. which allowed me to see these films and develop my ideas, as well as the other members otithe workshop whose insights helped Shape mine, I -.t[so want to thank the organizers ot'the third Domitor conference at the Museum ol‘ Modern Art (especially, as always, Eileen Bowser)‘ Roland Cosandey [or his exhibitions ol'nonfiction films from the Joye collection, and Jeanne Beausoleil for alerting me to the Albert liahn archive. WORLD WAR 1 PROPAGANDA FILMS and the [Iii-ti) rift/Jr durmm'nmry Martin Loiperdinger sk a simple question and film histot'iogt‘al‘ihy will come tip with a Asimplc ans“ er. it defines the birth of'tl‘ie documentary film with remarkable clarity: H February, 1926. That was the day the New Yuri: Sm: carried a review ot'stoaxa by Robert Flaherty. The critic. a certain John Grierson. claimed l-‘Iaherty had created a film ol"doeumentary value~ and praised its ‘creative treatment ot'aetuality‘. (irict'son \\ cut on to become the mentor ol‘the linglish documentary film movement and a respected international authority. With that, the relevant film history books followed in Grierson‘s footsteps and unquestioningly accepted Robert lilaherty as the lather ot'the documentary. A Liriet‘sonian such as liorsyth Hard)" regards the director of .\‘.\N(IUK ()1: ‘l H|-. Ntllt‘l ll (It :1) and MUANA (192(1) as the first auteur and. consequently, as the inventor ol'thc documentary. And in the first edition of .\"mtjirtimt film. by Richard M. Barsam. another Liriersonian. Louis launiere is not even n‘iclttiotted.2 ;\lthotlgh the opening chapter of lirik l‘..u'nou\\“s widely read I)m'iiri.'t'iirrtr_\'. r1 Myrrij rift/Jr irimjfi'rtirm film does esannne the work otthis lirench pioneer. it then itttnps immediately to lilaherty as representing the “first rebirth‘ ot‘the documentary. thereby dismissing twenty-live years of cinema history as though nothing but liCliHl‘l films had been produced in the interim period.3 Al‘hc apparent clarity olisitnple questions and answers can prove deceptive on closer inspection. It certainly is in this case: Grier-son coined a specific concept of documentary film and saw in Robert FI-ahertv its first exponent. liilm historitJgraphers have taken up (irierson‘s concept and declared it universally valid. In the pantheon of' 1. Forsytfi Hanuy ictt‘i Gr-msar- on th'wrmn‘aly(cannon-Boston Patna & Fain-u “4‘9 t. I‘ 2. Ruchaia M Barn-1s NJN than w'm a [.’rllr.1-‘r.sron ttrauton (;l[nh‘qi- rum. t; tannin H ‘ :. 3. Erik Bamouw. Ow met-raw A hleUi'Y of the mm no .m on ,turutau pic Roam time-ta. I 3 t1 - . -.-a tom :2 3o ...
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  • Fall '10
  • DR.ALISONGRIFFITHS
  • Auguste and Louis Lumière, Actuality film, thc liction film, Reality film, thc carlt‘ actuality, arrangcd hy thc

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gunning1997a - iions\itli the aid Ill-lllL'atiitiial...

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