5.25.2014

History of cinema/cinema of history


Histoire(s) du Cinema.  Cinema's histor(ies), but also histor(ies) independent of, overlapping with, intersecting with, diverging from the cinema.  Cinema as history; history on film.  The history of the twentieth century as a history on film, as borne out of the invention of photography.  The train.  The machine gun.  The bomb.  The movie camera.  The cinema as a moving record of the traumas of the century.  Walter Benjamin: "There is no document of civilization that is not also at the same time a document of barbarism."  Godard as historian--not only of cinema history but of history through cinema, of the histor(ies) that lie behind cinema, and of those films written by history.  Of an American cinema that, in the 1940s, functioned as an "advertisement" for the U.S. involvement in World War II.  Of a German cinema that withdrew, vanishing from the screen as if to screen its own crimes, its own guilt.  Of an Italian cinema that took its national tragedies and made them into the stuff of art--the cinema of Rossellini, of de Sica, of Fellini.  It is on this assertion that Part Five of Godard's history lesson fades to black.       

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