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Entering the Classical World through Silent Cinema
Track your podcast stats on Listen Notes, e. EDIT Thank you for helping to keep the podcast database up to date. Use API to fetch this podcast. Few of these films have ever been studied, and even fewer have received the critical attention of film historians, cultural historians or those working on the modern reception of ancient civilisations.
Entering the Ancient World through Silent Cinema
Film histories and databases usually reproduce only their titles devoid of subject matter, cultural context and historical significance. While the strong cinematic interest in the ancient Mediterranean since the s has resulted in a steady flow of publications, the breadth and persistence of fascination with ancient civilisations in the first decades of cinema has largely been ignored.
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The films in question, ranging from historical and mythological epics, to adaptations of Greek tragedy, Passion plays, cartoons, comedies and documentaries, suggest a preoccupation with antiquity that competes in intensity and breadth with that of Hollywood's classical era. We have estimated that more than of the films survive in archival collections in the UK and elsewhere. The large number of existing prints as well as production stills, screenplays, press books, reviews, and other ephemera constitute an enormous and rich volume of material that awaits integrated exploration and analysis.
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The significant presence of ancient civilisations in silent cinema opens up a number of research questions that are pertinent not only to film history and curatorship but also to classical and religious studies, Egyptology and Middle-Eastern studies, as well as to broader cultural studies:. No research project of this kind concerning the broad intersections of antiquity and early cinema has been attempted before.
An agenda was set and the directions for research formulated in the introduction to a collection of essays which was published in Antiquity in Silent Cinema , eds.