Lumière forever

Most true histories are untidy; early film history especially so. The first years of cinema were a complex field in which the different elements that would make up the medium were ‘invented’ at different stages, in which the many participants engaged in its creation held widely different understandings of just what the medium meant, andRead More

Shooting Stars

The opening sequence of Shooting Stars is a hesitant but nevertheless ambitious crane shot swooping over an active film studio. The location is the Stoll Film Company studios, Cricklewood, and through this opening vista the self-reflexive theme is introduced. This is a film about the process of making a film. It is constructed as aRead More

It speaks for itself

‘A million minutes of filmed history’ – someone in the communications team of the AP Archive must have been mightily pleased when they came up with that tag line for promoting their release online of the entire British Movietone newsreel archive onto YouTube. For that is what the have done. Apparently every story from everyRead More

In Bologna

I spent three days last week at Il Cinema Ritrovato, the renowned festival of restored and classic films held each year in Bologna, Italy. To my great shame it has been twenty-two years since I last attended the festival (though I was in the vicinity for a talk I gave three years ago). The reasonRead More

What is cinema history?

The art of Biography Is different from Geography. Geography is about maps, But Biography is about chaps. I thought of E.C. Bentley’s pithy poem while I was attending the What is Cinema History? conference in Glasgow. The conference was organised by the Early Cinema in Scotland project (on whose advisory board I sit), and addressedRead More