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By James Naremore

In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly stated that cinema is "an invention with out a future." James Naremore makes use of this mythical comment as a place to begin for a meditation at the so-called dying of cinema within the electronic age, and as a fashion of introducing a wide-ranging sequence of his essays on video clips previous and current. those essays comprise discussions of authorship, version, and appearing; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and stories of newer paintings through non-Hollywood administrators Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. vital subject matters recur: the relatives among modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the altering mediascape and loss of life of older applied sciences; and the necessity for powerful serious writing in an period whilst print journalism is waning and the arts are devalued. The booklet concludes with essays on 4 significant American movie critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.

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Henry James’ major work of ghost fiction The Turn of the Screw was published in 1898, for example, and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a milestone of the ghost story Fantasy, History and Cinema • 39 genre, was over fifty years old by the time cinema had arrived. A film like Mary Jane’s Mishap demonstrates the familiarity of the afterlife fantasy to the extent that it emerges as comedy in this narrative: a less than intelligent housemaid manages to blow herself up through the misuse of paraffin, only to return from the grave to reclaim a spectral can of the same ignitable fluid having, apparently, learnt nothing from her endeavours.

Though modernists and postmodernists have embraced texts containing non-linear narratives and linguistic experimentation, apparently many of them are not willing to embrace texts that contain paranormal rings, dragons, and elves. Magic is, of course, acceptable, but only if it is contained within a rational setting. Thus, magical realism is highly praised by the academic establishment. 34 We might find opportunity to reconsider the exact terms of Keller and Stratyner’s position here, not least given that a number of films featuring ‘paranormal rings, dragons and elves’ may be critically overlooked not on grounds of genre, but rather on quality: they may simply be works without artistic merit or distinction.

The world is reordered into fantasy, but that reordering is dependent upon, and therefore effectively promotes, the new technology of cinema. The ability to project images in reverse creates the spectacle, ‘inciting visual curiosity’ in precisely the ways that Gunning suggests. ’ Here is a world like ours, but different; a world familiar yet strange. The unexpected, alarming, exciting, unnerving experiences found in early cinema certainly point towards spectacle as a dominant form, especially given that such experiences were brief due to the length of film available for projection.

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