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  Film StudiesLect. Eliza Filimon PhDCourse 1- AMERICAN FILM IS! R# !homas Edison$ s company first demonstrated moving images in 1894 through a mechanical peepholedevice, the %inetosco&e . He had little to do with creating the essential technology – his staff did the hard work. Hiscompany controlled the patents on the first cameras & proectors, so he imagined he!d make a fortune y licensingthe use of his e#uipment, charging a royalty on every meter of film that passed through it & prosecuting thoseinfringing on his patents. $or a while the scenic views & coverage of pu lic events were successful. %n $rance, theLumiere 'rothers  first proected their moving pictures upon a screen in 189 – cinema as a social phenomenonfor paying audiences – their method ecame standard worldwide and $rench filmmakers led the way in cinema!searly years.'fter the invention of the motion pictures, two opposing sides emerged, oth relating to the core of cinematicrepresentation. (n the one hand, the principle of realism, on the other that of formalism, )the necessity for artisticimagination* were present simultaneously in the early days of cinema. +he umi-res made approimately 1//,one0two minute long actualities2, films that clearly elong within the realistic tendency, portraying real0lifeincidents with their least controlla le and most unconscious moments, laying the grounds for camera0realism,  ecoming a visual memory of nature caught in the act2. +he titles of these short scenes of daily life – such as The Baby’s Breakfast  , The Card Players ,  Arrival of Train  – gave a very literal summary of the action depicted. +hefilms were structured around long shots )no close0ups were used*, did not contain any camera movement, whichalso meant that each film is one shot long without any editing. %t is also a feature of the films that they were shotoutdoors and that the umi-res did not employ any actors. (ne should not overvalue the artistic associations of cinema and keep in mind that the thrill of confronting a previously unknown visual phenomenon was first andforemost eploited not for its aesthetic values, ut its easy transfera ility into profit. 'lthough their creativeinnovations made possi le a new era of mass0entertainment the umi-res! filmmaking career was short0lived.3hen it ecame clear that movies promised ig usiness, faster and more am itious usinessman – who soonrealised that this invention could satisfy the demand of people for magic y ehi iting the films as fairgroundoddities – moved into filmmaking. +he umi-res sold their camera rights to athe in 19//, which turned cinemainto a multinational usiness venture. 's a result the aesthetic innovations that followed could e understood as areaction to the changing demands of the customers, who re#uired igger and igger doses of thrills and sensations.+he umi-res! depictions of daily life had the magical #uality of recorded movement, that, in a sense eternalisedall the photographed su ects, making them defy death. +his was one of the factors that raised an overpoweringappeal for cinematic attraction. 5agic, nevertheless, could also e achieved y a more direct way of manipulating reality, and the work of  (eor)e Meli*s  – an illusionist, theatre director and a central figure of early $rench film0making – meant analternative for the realist tendency. 5eli-s considered the film medium not ust a scientific curiosity and theeamination of the processes of o servation. He preferred staged illusion for unstaged reality and told stories withreal plots, using actors, acro ats, and magicians, furthermore he also egan to hand0colour and tint his films. Hewas one of the first film0makers to recognise the power of film to convey limitless fantasy worlds y eploring allthe capa ilities of the technical apparatus of film0making. He accidentally discovered how pausing the cameracould make o ects disappear from the screen6 while filming The Place de L'Opera  the film temporarily ammedinside his camera. +his event made 5eli-s even more conscious of the potential of the new medium as anepression of artistic ideas and in late 1897 he designed a studio specifically for shooting films, e#uipped withfancy costumes, decoration and the most modern stage0technology. His films employed various magic tricks,masks and film tricks, like multiple eposure. 5eli-s! works were deeply influenced y the stage tradition, hisactors were stage actors, they owed to the audience as in a theatre, ut most importantly, he used a stationarycamera )ust as the umi-res*, which portrayed the stage from a perspective similar to that of the theatregoer. %n spite of his outstanding achievements in filmed theatre 5li-s was very much a one man and he somehowfound the time to manage his theatre, produce and direct his films, adapting stage and literature for the screen,cutting the film, designing sets and costumes in addition to taking the lead role in many of the films. 'lthough  5eli-s is chiefly remem ered for his foray into fantasy films – est known for   A Trip to the Moon  )19/:*, other  productions of his included documentaries, comedies, stag films, dramas and filmed advertisements. +hese variousactivities complemented with his underlying admiration for illusions and magic ena led him to realise the potentialof film to shock and horrify his audience6 % do not hesitate to say that in cinematography it is today possi le torealise the most impossi le and the most impro a le things2.+he first movies were short documentaries shown at travelling tent shows and vaudeville theatres thenfictional stories of 01/! produced y independent companies operating outside the ;dison trust!s or it. Nic%elodeons+ small store0front theatres devoted to showing films, opened across the <='. %n 19/8 film!s larger  potential egan to e eplored with the apparition of D.,. (riith , a failed stage0actor & playwright whodeveloped his style )the first to freed the camers from the stationary tripod, use the close0up, panoramic long shots,angled viewpoints* to direct sories. $ilmmakers egan refining their methods of storytelling, overcoming the lack of sound y eaggerated gestures of actors, choice of camera placement, lighting, focus, editing. >y 191/s 1hour films )melodramatic or sensationalistic* ecame the norm.Hollywood was incorporated as a town in 1911 and ecame the centre for film production6 0 191/s cinema was regarded as entertainment for immigrants & the working class. 3hite upper to middleclass 's it was felt as a potentially distur ing social institution, censorship oards egan to monitor the content –  pressure to ecome more respecta le )white patriarchal ideas* & capture middle class audience0 so opulent moie&alaces o  pened.?uring the 191/s & :/s studios developed the concept of the moie star/  stars were used in order to sell films,they were associated with certain types of roles 0 @haplin Athe tramp2.   =pecific ideals of eauty, gender   ehaviour, class, seuality, skin colour were constructed.19:B sound was added so the )olden a)e o silent cinema  ended during the C/s0/s, the classical a)e. 8companies controlled the industry6 the 'i) 0  ,2+ Metro-(old3in-Ma4er+ 56 th  Centur4 Fo7+ R8 +Paramount9 : each vertically integrated, the Little ; Colum'ia+ <niersal+ <nited Artists9 - didn!t own their own theatres, fewer assets -moie studios  appeared0 .a num er of permanent sets, stages to uild others, lists of actors, directors, cameraoperators, editors, screen0writers, musicians, costumers etc. early filmmakers had done multiple tasks, now the o s were divided etween departments – Hollywood made // films Dyear, today under ://. =maller independentcompanies, 3alt ?isney, often distri uted their work through a ig one.3arner >ros – low0 udget films, contemporary theme – gangsterism – simple, are sets, sha y, dark rooms, arestreets, darkness, medium shots, close0ups, low0key lighting, one of the 1 st  ones to use fog5E5 – high0key lighting, right images, no shadows, long shots – The Wizard of Oz !one ith the ind )19C9* (reat De&ression  19:90194/ – y 19C: ticket sales dwindled & y 19CC every studio ecept 5E5 hadrun into de t. (ne method to woo potential customers into the theatres was the promise of increased iolence+se7ual titillation , despite the Production Code , a list of what was accepta le in the movies – gangster films,horrors, a cynical, pessimistic view of 'merica. 19C4 the @ was revised to include a Seal o A&&roal , given tofilms deemed accepta le. Hollywood companies agreed to show only films having the seal – a self0censoringindustry & a way of denying ehi ition to other types of films )too political, race relations, women!s rights*usually the movies were a out the lifestyles of the rich & eautiful, musicals , women as housewives, people of colour marginalised, homoseuals officially disappeared.?uring the war – considera le profits 3ar moie genre promoting 'merican unity, unity of people of different ethnic groups, Fapanese enemyGstereotype after the war in the late 4/s social &ro'lem ilms , as a resultof group campaigns topics considered ta oo ) racism, anti0=emitism* stories of corruption in thrillers : ilmnoir )personal tensions et. men0women* Cold ,ar  of espionage with the =oviet <nion – the fight against communism a road Red Scare  – the hysteriaa out possi le communist infiltration caused changes in the film practice. ' committee <AC house un-amactiities com9 charged some leftist & communist filmmakers & some served time in prison., ut usually thoseFewish, homoseual, non0white. 19/s Hollywood films avoided any political implications safe genres6 musicals dramas, lush historicalromances, >i lical epics. >y 197/s 9/ of ' homes had a +I – competition Hollywood responded with newtechnology, widescreen formats, C?, stereo sound. %n 1948 the =upreme @ourt declared that H industry had formedan illegal oligipolistic trust so the studios were forced to dismantle their vertical integration & sell their ehi itionoutlets – many directors ecame independent – indep. filmmaking was encouraged. +he independent filmmakers    egan to address restricted groups y eploring previously ta oo themes. +he climate of the 197/ )social changes,fight for rights* drove audiences away from the stereotypes of H films towards the indep. ones many companieswent ankrupt & maor studios were ought y non0filmic corporations who started to address specific segmentsof the population – 'frican 'merican men & women gained s little power 0 'la7&loitation ilms. ã 7/s0B/s – a new generation of filmmakers was hired 0 Film School 2rats  – ucas, =piel erg, @oppola – they revigorated the B/s&8/s – used traditional genre formulas spiced up with se & violence ) the @ had  een replaced y the Ratin) S4stem , restricting audiences* traditional ideology & stereotypes preserved ina nostalgic fashion, called the nostal)ic  'loc%'uster  's a result independent films are lost in the media flurry surrounding H films. +here are mergers of mediacompanies into cor&orate con)lomerates , large multinational usinesses that control many aspects of theindustry. +oday the same B08 giant media corporations that made movies )?isney, +ime03arner0'(, Jews @orp.0:/ th  @entury $o, Iiacom0aramount, =ony0+ristar0@olum ia* also make & distri ute ooks, @ds, +v shows, owntheme parks, sports teams, ca le +I distri utors, video cassette rental companies – a new type of corporateoligopoly controlling the world!s mass media. 0indep filmmaking did   flourish riefly in the 8/s09/s ecause of the developing technologies of home video &ca le +I, which needed scores of films to fill program schedules & video0store shelves many dealt with issues of race, gender, seuality, were directed y new graduates – women, coloured people the success of some of them ledH conglomerates to hire & promote more women, open homoseuals etc. >y the mid 9/s many small independentfilm distri utors were driven out of usiness or a sor ed y the maor ones – 5irama y ?isney, Jew ine@inema y +ime03arner, which was ac#uired y the %nternet company 'merica (n ine. 0distri ution & ehi ition channels & venues have changed a lot ut the goals are the same, namely to maintaincontrol on the market, minimise risks, maimise profit.$or info on >ritish cinema history, please refer tohttp6DDen.wikipedia.orgDwikiD@inemaKofKtheK<nitedKLingdom
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