Living London

One of the great fascinations of early cinema is the archaeology involved. While for later periods of film issues of identification are relatively clear (title, authorship, duration, variations, ownership etc), for early films when the business was young and its nature indeterminate, things are not always straightforward. If you combine this with all the changesRead More

O Pioneers!

I have two definitions of what history is, which I wrote years ago and have repeated several times thereafter – and here they are again: 1. History is what was known once but has been forgotten 2. History is the present’s interpretation of the past It’s worth considering these when contemplating the subject of women’sRead More

Ten modest films

Ten and a bit years ago I contributed for the first time to the venerable Sight and Sound once-every-ten-years poll of the greatest films. The poll has been running since 1952. The top choice of the sixty-three critics who contributed was Ladri di biciclette, or Bicycle Thieves (Italy 1948). From 1962 to 2002 the poll-topperRead More

Looking up to the light

To the cinema to see a film about cinema. Is there any art form, any medium, that has been quite so sentimental about itself as cinema? There is nostalgia in the understanding of every art form or medium which has transformed through time, but cinema’s forlornness seems particular to itself. It is summed up byRead More