The Emergence of African American Film and the Possibility of Black Modernity
Author: Allyson Nadia Field
Publisher: Duke University Press
Category: Performing Arts
In Uplift Cinema, Allyson Nadia Field recovers the significant yet forgotten legacy of African American filmmaking in the 1910s. Like the racial uplift project, this cinema emphasized economic self-sufficiency, education, and respectability as the keys to African American progress. Field discusses films made at the Tuskegee and Hampton Institutes to promote education, as well as the controversial The New Era, which was an antiracist response to D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. She also shows how Black filmmakers in New York and Chicago engaged with uplift through the promotion of Black modernity. Uplift cinema developed not just as a response to onscreen racism, but constituted an original engagement with the new medium that has had a deep and lasting significance for African American cinema. Although none of these films survived, Field's examination of archival film ephemera presents a method for studying lost films that opens up new frontiers for exploring early film culture.
Movies and Censorship in Early-Twentieth-Century America
Author: Lee Grieveson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Performing Arts
White slave films, dramas documenting sex scandals, filmed prize fights featuring the controversial African-American boxer Jack Johnson, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation—all became objects of public concern after 1906, when the proliferation of nickelodeons brought moving pictures to a broad mass public. Lee Grieveson draws on extensive original research to examine the controversies over these films and over cinema more generally. He situates these contestations in the context of regulatory concerns about populations and governance in an early-twentieth-century America grappling with the powerful forces of modernity, in particular, immigration, class formation and conflict, and changing gender roles. Tracing the discourses and practices of cultural and political elites and the responses of the nascent film industry, Grieveson reveals how these interactions had profound effects on the shaping of film content, form, and, more fundamentally, the proposed social function of cinema: how cinema should function in society, the uses to which it might be put, and thus what it could or would be. Policing Cinema develops new perspectives for the understanding of censorship and regulation and the complex relations between governance and culture. In this work, Grieveson offers a compelling analysis of the forces that shaped American cinema and its role in society.
Film and Television from The Magic Lantern To Teen Vloggers
Author: Karen Wells
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Category: Social Science
Some of the most iconic images of the twentieth century are of children: Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, depicting farm worker Frances Owens Thompson with three of her children; six-year-old Ruby Bridges, flanked by U.S. marshals, walking down the steps of an all-white elementary school she desegregated; Huỳnh Công Út’s photograph of nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc fleeing a South Vietnamese napalm bombing. These iconic images with their juxtaposition of the innocent (in the sense of not culpable) figure of the child and the guilty perpetrators of violence (both structural and interpersonal) are ‘arresting’. The power of the image of the child to arrest the spectator, to demand a response from her has given the representation of children a central place in the history of visual culture for social reform. This book analyses a range of forms and genres from social reform documentary through feature films and onto small and mobile media to address two core questions: What difference does it make to the message who the producer is? and How has the place of children and youth changed in visual public culture?
In The Image in Early Cinema, the contributors examine intersections between early cinematic form, technology, theory, practice, and broader modes of visual culture. They argue that early cinema emerged within a visual culture composed of a variety of traditions in art, science, education, and image making. Even as methods of motion picture production and distribution materialized, they drew from and challenged practices and conventions in other mediums. This rich visual culture produced a complicated, overlapping network of image-making traditions, innovations, and borrowing among painting, tableaux vivants, photography, and other pictorial and projection practices. Using a variety of concepts and theories, the contributors explore these crisscrossing traditions and work against an essentialist notion of media to conceptualize the dynamic interrelationship between images and their context.
Since the spectacular success of The Artist (2011) there has been a resurgence of interest in silent cinema, and particularly in the lush and passionate screen dramas of the 1920s. This book offers an introduction to the cinema of this extraordinary period, outlining the development of the form between the end of the First World War and the introduction of synchronized sound at the end of the 1920s. Lawrence Napper addresses the relationship between film aesthetics and the industrial and political contexts of film production through a series of case studies of "national" cinemas. It also focuses on film-going as the most popular leisure activity of the age. Topics such as the star system, cinema buildings, musical accompaniments, film fashions, and fan cultures are addressed—all the elements that ensured that the experience of the pictures was "big." The international dominance of Hollywood is outlined, as are the different responses to that dominance in Britain, Germany, and the USSR. Case studies seek to move beyond the familiar silent canon, and include The Oyster Princess (1919), It (1927), Shooting Stars (1927), and The Girl with the Hatbox (1927).
These controversies have centered on everything from the portrayal of the past, as in Griffith's film, to depictions of sex and sexuality, to the use of graphic violence, and issues of race, religion, and politics. In turn, segments of the American public have been driven to boycott, picket, and even censor those films they felt challenged their sense of decency. At the heart of this history of controversial films is a strange paradox: while films, especially popular and mainstream films, are often portrayed as meaningless products of popular culture, popular films involved in public controversies become the focal point of enormous cultural energy and political attention. The ongoing culture wars thus continue to shape the American political landscape, and controversial films continue to be a major point of conflict
Comprised of 43 innovative contributions, this companion is both an overview of, and intervention into the field of cinema and gender. The essays included here address a variety of geographical contexts, from an analysis of cinema. Islam and women and television under Eastern European socialism, to female audience reception in Nigeria, to changing class and race norms in Bollywood dance sequences. A special focus is on women directors in a global context that includes films and filmmakers from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South America. The collection also offers a solid overview of feminist contributions to thinking on genre from the "chick flick" to the action or Western film, to film noir and the slasher. Readers will find contributions on a variety of approaches to spectatorship, reception studies and fandom, as well as transnational approaches to star studies and essays addressing the relationship between feminist film theory and new media. Other topics include queer and trans* cinema, eco-cinema and the post-human. Finally, readers interested in the history of film will find essays addressing the methodological dimensions of feminist film history, essays on silent and studio era women in film, and histories of female filmmakers in a variety of non-Western contexts.
Winner of the Religious Communication Association Book of the Year Award for 2008 Sanctuary Cinema provides the first history of the origins of the Christian film industry. Focusing on the early days of film during the silent era, it traces the ways in which the Church came to adopt film making as a way of conveying the Christian message to adherents. Surprisingly, rather than separating themselves from Hollywood or the American entertainment culture, early Christian film makers embraced Hollywood cinematic techniques and often populated their films with attractive actors and actresses. But they communicated their sectarian message effectively to believers, and helped to shape subsequent understandings of the Gospel message, which had historically been almost exclusively verbal, not communicated through visual media. Despite early successes in attracting new adherents with the lure of the film, the early Christian film industry ultimately failed, in large part due to growing fears that film would corrupt the church by substituting an American “civil religion” in place of solid Christian values and amidst continuing Christian unease about the potential for the glorification of images to revert to idolatry. While radio eclipsed the motion picture as the Christian communication media of choice by the 1920, the early film makers had laid the foundations for the current re-emergence of Christian film and entertainment, from Veggie Tales to The Passion of the Christ.
In this ground-breaking investigation into the seldom-studied film culture of colonial Korea (1910-1945), Dong Hoon Kim brings new perspectives to the associations between colonialism, modernity, film historiography and national cinema. By reconstructing the lost intricacies of colonial film history, Eclipsed Cinema explores under-investigated aspects of colonial film culture, such as the representational politics of colonial cinema, the film unit of the colonial government, the social reception of Hollywood cinema, and Japanese settlers' film culture. Filling a significant void in Asian film history, Eclipsed Cinema greatly expands the critical and historical scopes of early cinema and Korean and Japanese film histories, as well as modern Asian culture, and colonial and postcolonial studies.