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Rural settings, national identity and British silent cinema

critical debate.2 These reflections will touch on the role of landscape in articulating national identity and on the centrality of the concept of the picturesque in the film culture of the period. It will also become clear that, in contemporary critical debate, picturesque Englishness is very often seen as synonymous with high-​quality photography. It is also worth remarking that 1895 saw not only the first public performances of films but also the foundation of that key British institution, the National Trust, known at the time as the National Trust for Places of

in British rural landscapes on film
Aesthetic integration and disintegration in Jean Epstein’s La Chute de la maison Usher

-imposed isolation – a figure whose heightened aesthetic experience infects his psyche and, consequently, his environment – Epstein’s film links with nineteenth-century Romanticism, Decadence and Symbolism, as well as Edgar Allan Poe himself. Epstein exteriorises a disintegrating consciousness through a variety of cinematic techniques, from slow and reverse motion photography to the superimposition of multiple

in Monstrous adaptations
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As we have seen in previous chapters, Méliès’s films transported viewers to other worlds; only some of his films, however, actually emphasized the process of getting there. If movement was the feature of film that set it apart from photography and painting, then it was also the key factor in the development of the tourism industry, and in the transportation revolution inaugurated by the invention of

in Georges Méliès
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the Second World War to paint and study fine art at the Sorbonne (under the occasional tutelage of Fernand Léger). It was his photography, however, that initially earned him an artistic reputation, and a living; his distinctive fashion and street photographs from the 1950s and 1960s still exude an edgy, intrusive aesthetic that combines formal iconoclasm with social criticism. A steely executioner when it comes to taking a photograph, Klein is more the wily interrogator when making a film, where his documentary method has generally tended towards a more cursory

in Regarding the real
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traditions, genre, intertextuality, and so on – I have also been struck by unmistakable idiosyncrasies of form and content. Reed’s eye for detail and for creating atmosphere through photography or editing is unsurpassed in the British cinema. In relation to the former, one thinks of the sudden conversion of Havana in the later stages of Our Man in Havana from its tourist-brochure representation to a darker

in Carol Reed
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body and sexuality in reverse motion

often turn into a futile hunt for symptoms, what are we to make, for instance, of those equally erotic moments of apparent narrative breakdown that are so visible in Cocteau’s films but which have never been properly addressed? I am referring in particular to the extensive use of reverse-motion photography which, as we saw in Chapter 3 , can cause moments of real confusion (is filmic time going forwards or backwards?) and

in Jean Cocteau

vision of the period enforced by the industry standard. While photography and editing remain realist at base, art-historical allusions situate the film in relation to a broad history of representation in the West which partly transcends Kleist’s story. On an intimate scale, Die Marquise von O… is arguably no less a model – if not a monument – of period adaptation than Visconti’s The Leopard (1963), with the important

in Eric Rohmer
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Of images, poetry and Pandaemonium

. There have been many fine studies of his films, most of which mention his interests in painting, poetry, theatrical stage design, photography, acting and film, alongside his extensive critical, academic work, and helping establish the Mass Observation movement in 1937. However, such references are often made en passant , so that the full richness of the interplay between his myriad creative activities, of which film is merely a part, remains somewhat underappreciated. 2 His cinematic productions need to be contextualised carefully to better appreciate their nuances

in British art cinema
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trees (the ‘pachyderms’ of the title; the ‘5’ refers to Beineix’s fifth film); he tries to get them to communicate with the trees. Tony, irritated by their wanderings, nuts Léon just as Jockey discovers another lake. He swims into the lake, and is rescued by Tony when they realise he cannot swim. Over a campfire, Léon tells them how he was trying to find the place where, as a young man on vacation, he fell in love with

in Jean-Jacques Beineix
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projection technologies like magic lanterns and, subsequently, film and TV. I have mentioned (above) David Kunzle’s highlighting of Gothic motifs in Rodolphe Töpfler’s comic strips and in Chapter 5 , I discuss caricatures, silhouettes, lithographs, moving on to examine adorned and ‘moving’ books and, latterly, calendars. Chapter 6 deals with Gothic photography from Daguerreotypes onwards, with particular

in Gothic effigy