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Unformatted text preview: Worksheet 13 - Film History Professor Rohdie (UCF) The Lumière brothers were the rst to project lms publicly. They did not ‘invent’ lm, but rather invented its projection, that is, they invented the industry, and that it is what is cele- brated as the birth of the cinema. They did so in 1895 in Paris. The lms shown were only a few seconds in length, a single shot sequence, and for the most part scenes of daily life, some staged, others taken directly: workers leaving a factory, trains coming into a station, passersby on the street, a row boat at sea, waves, parades, scenes of coming and going, that is, of movement taking place before an immobile camera at a xed distance. The images were autonomous, that is, not linked to any other and only linked to the reality they represented. The cinema then was what was lmed and what was lmed was, like a photograph, a frag- ment of reality as a coherent, uninterrupted image of it. It was only later that the single image was further fragmented and then joined to other images equally fragmented. It was photog- raphy however with its framing that rst cut the image out of a larger reality and thereby in- troduced the image as a fragment both of of space and of time (the instant). This notion of the fragment, temporal and spatial, was re ned by lm by extending the fragment in time, giving it duration, and then linking one image with another (a series of fragments), thus extending the reproduced fragment into space. By 1917/1918, the period of the Russian Revolution, and the conclusion of ve years of World War in Europe with its slaughter and destruction, the cinema was little more than two dec- ades old. During the period, 1895-1918, the forms, possibilities and realisation of lms were relatively uid, full of promise and potential because as yet the cnema was not institutional- ised, not subject to rules and codes. There were at this time various e orts to discover what lm was capable of, what it might express and what might speci ed it, that is, distinguished it from the other arts (photography, painting, literature, and above all, theatre) and also what it lacked (sound). Because lm was mute, that is, it was without the spoken word, though not silent (music was often present to accompany lm shows), ‘silent’ lm developed ways ‘to speak’ (to be like lan- guage) and ‘to sound’ (to be like music). These attempts suggested various possibilities, some later codi ed: to tell a story ( lm as narrative), to document events ( lm as record and report), to create poetry ( lm as art and composition), to exhibit a performance ( lm as traditional ‘quality’ theatre and lm as popular spectacle). Often such pathways overlapped and the line between them ill-de ned and open....
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2011 for the course FIL 3036 taught by Professor Rohdie during the Fall '09 term at University of Central Florida.
- Fall '09