Category — Film History
Harry Belafonte as the last man alive in The World, The Flesh and The Devil
Will Smith as the last man alive in I am legend
March 17, 2013 No Comments
The world’s first colour motion picture was stumbled upon in the National Media Museum, Bradford last year
And Kodak’s earliest colour film:
March 17, 2013 No Comments
Ram Gopal Varma has been panned and flamed by critics for his mediocrity (here), being hysterical and gimmicky (here), and like the prodigal son who has lost his way (here). There is also the reported trading of insults between Karan Johar and RGV (here). The proverbial dirt from the laundry is all over the web for interested voyeurs to unravel. This post is not about what are considered RGV’s failures. While we are aware of his abilities to make thrillers and cult characters (Shiva, Satya, Company), his abilities in directing films that subtly poke fun at the “Indian film” without upsetting the “average viewer” are perhaps under-explored and with good reason. The background noise from his many films with the B conventions obscure his record in making some interesting comedy films that do not reduce filmmaking to a series of skits. Three films that come to my mind are Kshana Kshanam (Dir, Telugu) and Rangeela (Dir, Hindi) and Money (Prod, Telugu).
March 17, 2013 No Comments
2013 promises to be an exciting year for Indian cinema as various groups and individuals are busy organizing interesting ways of commemorating the centenary of Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra, arguably India’s first film. Ostensibly as a part of this celebration, I was recently informed about the launch of a new crowd-sourced encyclopedia of Indian cinema, called CinemaofIndia.org. The site is based on the Wiki-model and is designed and hosted by the brains behind the pad.ma archive.
Here’s a brief description provided by the hosts:
“This Wiki is based on Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen’s Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, a pioneering effort at documenting the history of cinema in India at a time when there were very few resources available and even fewer people working on the history of Indian cinema. There is now a much wider community of scholars, enthusiasts and cinephiles working on Indian cinema, and a much wider range of resources by way of films, DVDs, memorabilia and most importantly technology available that allow us to rethink how we may carry forward the encyclopedia project as a collaborative venture. The internet also allows us to link the original entries to images and movie clips thus housing an encyclopedia of cinema in the only environment that it was meant to be housed in: a multi-media environment. Ashish has very generously offered us the encyclopedia as a starting point.”
The idea behind this project is to combine collective knowledge on various films, actors, directors, technicians etc by either creating new entries or adding to existing entries.
January 13, 2013 No Comments
A few hours ago the Minister of Information and Broadcasting here in India, Ms Ambika Soni announced that on the occasion of hundred years of Indian cinema (which is next year by popular account), her ministry has assigned Rs. 500 crore in the next five-year plan for setting up the National Heritage Mission that aims to digitize and restore all audio and video tapes of Indian films. While India faces a dire need to pay more attention to archiving its cinema history, this does seem an ambitious project. But here’s hoping it sees light of day.
Meanwhile, at a less official level, I recorded a ten-minute extract of the restored Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra, ostensibly India’s first film. With cinema entering its 100th year, I would assume this film has long entered the free-copyright zone and will not land me into trouble. The aim of the arduous exercise of putting this clip on YouTube was to contribute yet another unofficial, barely legal bit to the enormous, free and pirate archive of cinema that is floating across media, particularly on the Internet. So here it is:
Read the entire press report here: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=83059
May 3, 2012 No Comments
A excerpt from the letter Henri Langlois wrote to the Edison National Historic Site to request Edison’s Kinetograph for his proposed Musée du Cinéma in Paris:
“On the occasion of the inauguration of the great Musée du Cinéma in Paris, the Cinémathèque Française has assembled an exhibition on the origins of the cinema, to which the principal foreign museums, English, German, Austrian, such as the Smithsonian, have loaned us the prototype cameras that recount the history of the discovery of cinema. All these will be gathered together for several weeks in this exhibition, except that of Edison. [...] This causes me great distress, since I tell myself that this absence of the Edison camera will do harm to his memory and withhold, once again, his rightful place in the chronology. [...] It is of such great importance for Edison that this camera is here, even if only for a few days. [...] After all, we were able to loan the Mona Lisa, and she did not suffer from her voyage.”
(6 May 1972)
From: Mannoni, Laurent. ‘Henri Langlois and the Musee du Cinema’ in Film History, Volume 18, pp. 274–287, 2006.
April 30, 2012 No Comments
Rosie Thomas’s essay on Indian B-movies of the 1950s that appeared on the Tasveer Ghar site. Click here to read it.
(Note: It is a five-page long essay, click on ‘Select page’ or ‘Next’ which will appear at the bottom right corner of the page.)
March 22, 2011 No Comments
Last few weeks had been quite hectic as I was trying to connect early Tamil cinema with Deleuze’s notions of movement-image. I was preparing a paper for Dr Stephen Hughes’ (SOAS) seminar on “Early Tamil Cinema” held in Chennai during Feb.17-18,2011. Working on this paper meant working against the “limit” of Deleuzean notions contained in his Cinema I and II books, as pointed out by David Martin Jones. David Martin Jones’ “Towards Another ‘-Image’: Deleuze, Narrative Time and Popular Indian Cinema,” (Deleuze Studies 2 (1) 25-48) points to the limitation of the supposedly eurocentric approach of Deleuze’s Cinema I and II books in examining the case of Indian cinema. [Read more →]
February 20, 2011 1 Comment
by Suruchi Mazumdar
Uttam Kumar passed away thirteen days before I was born. For the uninitiated, he was the matinee idol of popular Bengali cinema of post-Independent era. As the news of the star actor’s untimely and sudden death spread, my heavily pregnant mother – nonchalantly risking my impending arrival and ignoring my helpless father’s vain objections – wobbled through a swelling and maddening crowd to catch a last glimpse of the hero of her youth and childhood. [Read more →]
November 7, 2010 No Comments
Today (October 01) is a day to remember in Tamil cinema for two varied reasons. It marks another birth anniversary of Sivaji Ganesan, the doyen of Tamil cinema who passed away in 2001. It was Sivaji who gave a great boost to the political cinema of DMK during the 1950s. His first film, Parasakthi, 1952, was a scathing statement against the evils of exploitation, superstition, and moral depravity. [Read more →]
October 1, 2010 1 Comment