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June 1994


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Gene Stavis <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 17 Jun 1994 12:37:56 PDT
text/plain (21 lines)
Ana Lopez -
I think it is significant that the only example you cite is what you call a
"documentary". Actually that term wasn't in existence until the late '20's or
early '30's. The very first films ever made were "actualities" - that is,
film records of real events. They had no pretense at anything but sheer
record. Edison recorded the first of these in the late 1880's and, of course,
the Lumiere brothers from 1895 on, produced footage from all over the world
(including Mexico) well before the 1910 film you cite. I may be wrong here,
but I believe the footage you are referring to was produced by a North
American film company.
Nobody denies that footage was shot in various non-Western countries, but
these were what we would today call "newsreels" - exotic footage to bring
back in order to attract audiences.
What we have been talking about in this thread is the development of film
syntax, grammar, form and content, not simply "random views". I would look
forward to some real information which could challenge my understanding of
film development as I have expressed it here. I don't believe I have any
cultural motivation in citing the facts I have. But I am always open to
 relevant new information.
Gene Stavis, School of Visual Arts - NYC