• Tuesday, Mar 4, 1980



Correction Please or How We Got Into Pictures, Love By the Light of the Moon and The "Teddy" Bears

Noel Burch, best known as a film theoretician, is the author of “Theory of Film Practice,” “To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in the Japanese Cinema,” and a study of Marcel L'Herbier. Having taught film theory and filmmaking in Paris for a number of years, he has recently returned to the U.S. and teaches at Ohio State University.
Correction Please or How We Got Into Pictures
Ten films made between 1900 and 1906 are linked together by Burch to illustrate five periods in cinema history and by means of which Burch succeeds in raising problems of understanding a mass art when studied from a later point in history.

“This film does not claim to ‘explain' the evolution of cinema between 1900/06... and the era of sound (represented as a whole by the last of the five staged sequences). Rather it is an attempt to suggest a few strands of reflection on that development and to favour the growth of a scientifically grounded, non-normative pedagogy.
“It is hoped that the viewer/user will undertake his or her own reading of the elements presented here, develop his or her own conclusions, perhaps without wishing or needing to engage with all of the various themes proposed....
“For the record, I should indicate that while true pastiche is never intended, the periods alluded to in the five sequences staged by me are: the mature primitive years (ca. 1905), Griffith's middle period at Biograph (ca. 1910), the more mature films which Reginald Barker made for Thomas Ince (ca. 1915), Fritz Lang's Mabuse diptych (1922) - a crucial moment in the elaboration of the visual and symbolic structures of the Cinema Institution - and, finally, the era of ‘canned theatre,' insofar as it is that of so many films made between 1919 and today.”

Preceded by early Porter/Edison short films including:

Love by the Light of the Moon
Built on the filmically self-reflexive theme of
voyeurism, this studio-made comedy also generates audience interest through primitive animation and sexual innuendo.

• Directed and Photographed by Edwin S. Porter. Produced by Thomas A. Edison. (1901, ca.5 mins, silent, Print from Audio Brandon)

The “Teddy” Bears
“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is given a new twist in this quiet spoof of the 1907 craze for “Teddy” bears. Edwin S. Porter considered it one of his most important films; not for its political humor, but for its stop-motion animation which remains an impressive technical accomplishment today.

• Directed and Photographed by Edwin S. Porter. Produced by Thomas A. Edison. (1907, 15 mins, silent, Print from Museum of Modern Art)

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