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Seeing Sarah Bernhardt
Performance and Silent Film
"Radically revises our understanding of why Sarah Bernhardt chose to engage in the new medium of motion pictures and why her 1910s films were received (and are still readable) as both artistic and popular works far beyond France."--Richard Abel, author of Americanizing the Movies and "Movie-Mad" Audiences, 1910-1914
"Sarah Bernhardt was one of the first well-known actresses to turn to moving pictures, proving that the movies could be taken seriously by major artists and attracting an audience cinema had not had before. Film historians have dismissed these films as 'filmed theater,' but Victoria Duckett demands we take a closer look. In our era of hybrid media, we can rediscover Bernhardt’s use of gesture and movement as linking cinema to Art Nouveau while forging a link between theater and film. Duckett’s careful research reveals the impact a woman had in establishing cinema as an art that drew on--rather than ignored--theater. Bernhardt not only became the first international movie star--she pioneered the role women might have in this new medium."--Tom Gunning, author of The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity
The most famous stage actress of the nineteenth century, Sarah Bernhardt enjoyed a surprising renaissance when the 1912 multi-reel film Queen Elizabeth vaulted her to international acclaim. The triumph capped her already lengthy involvement with cinema while enabling the indefatigable actress to reinvent herself in an era of technological and generational change. Placing Bernhardt at the center of the industry's first two decades, Victoria Duckett challenges the perception of her as an anachronism unable to appreciate film's qualities. Instead, cinema's substitution of translated title cards for her melodic French deciphered Bernhardt for Anglo-American audiences. It also allowed the aging actress to appear in the kinds of longer dramas she could no longer physically sustain onstage. As Duckett shows, Bernhardt contributed far more than star quality. Her theatrical practice on film influenced how the young medium changed the visual and performing arts. Her promoting of experimentation, meanwhile, shaped the ways audiences looked at and understood early cinema. A leading-edge reappraisal of a watershed era, Seeing Sarah Bernhardt tells the story of an icon who bridged two centuries--and changed the very act of watching film.
Victoria Duckett is a lecturer in media studies and director of the undergraduate program in entertainment studies at Deakin University, Melbourne. She is the coeditor of Researching Women in the Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives.
University of Illinois Press
September 2015 264pp 44 black and white photographs 9780252081163 PB £20.99 now only £16.79* when you quote CSL915SSBE when you order
Doing Women's Film History
Reframing Cinemas, Past and Future
Edited by Christine Gledhill & Julia Knight
Prologue by Jane Gaines & Monica Dall’asta
"An emphatic statement of the strength of contemporary scholarship in women's film history, the collection presents readers with new material and new perspectives."--Yvonne Tasker, author of Soldiers' Stories: Military Women in Cinema and Television since WWII
"The research here is ambitious and impressive. Covering numerous contexts, including production, distribution, reception, stardom, censorship, and more, this book has international scope and broad appeal. It offers new perspectives from emerging scholars as well as the most recent findings from many of the field's most respected senior voices."--Christina Lane, author of Feminist Hollywood: From 'Born in Flames' to 'Point Break’
“Doing Women's Film History brings together work from one of the most exciting scholarly gatherings that I have attended in a very long time. The essays collected here document the incredible scope of women's engagement with movie cultures across varied global contexts, time periods, and cinematic modes. More than that, they provide methodological roadmaps for how we might continue to chart feminist histories of cinema, cinema-going, and cinema practice.”--Shelley Stamp, author of Lois Weber in Early Hollywood
“This useful anthology spans continents and centuries, introducing women, events, and innovative feminist historiographical strategies that will spur us on to further discovery and provide us tools to interpret our findings.”--Leslie DeBauche, author of Reel Patriotism: The Movies and World War I
Research into and around women's participation in cinematic history has enjoyed dynamic growth over the past decade. A broadening of scope and interests encompasses not only different kinds of filmmaking--mainstream fiction, experimental, and documentary--but also practices--publicity, journalism, distribution and exhibition--seldom explored in the past. Cutting-edge and inclusive, Doing Women's Film History ventures into topics in the United States and Europe while also moving beyond to explore the influence of women on the cinemas of India, Chile, Turkey, Russia, and Australia. Contributors grapple with historiographic questions that cover film history from the pioneering era to the present day. Yet the writers also address the very mission of practicing scholarship. Essays explore essential issues like identifying women's participation in their cinema cultures, locating previously unconsidered sources of evidence, developing methodologies and analytical concepts to reveal the impact of gender on film production, distribution and reception, and reframing film history to accommodate new questions and approaches.
Contributors include: Kay Armatage, Eylem Atakav, Karina Aveyard, Canan Balan, Cécile Chich, Monica Dall'Asta, Eliza Anna Delveroudi, Jane M. Gaines, Christine Gledhill, Julia Knight, Neepa Majumdar, Michele Leigh, Luke McKernan, Debashree Mukherjee, Giuliana Muscio, Katarzyna Paszkiewicz, Rashmi Sawhney, Elizabeth Ramirez Soto, Sarah Street, and Kimberly Tomadjoglou.
Christine Gledhill is Visiting Professor in Cinema Studies at the University of Sunderland, editor of Gender meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas and co-founder with Julia Knight of the Women’s Film & Television History Network-UK/Ireland.
Julia Knight is Professor of Moving Image and Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland. She is the co-author of Researching Audiences: Distribution and Promotion of Alternative Moving Image.
University of Illinois Press
September 2015 296pp 30 black and white photographs 9780252081187 PB £18.99 now only £15.19* when you quote CSL915SSBE when you order
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