Cinema and History: Screening the Past

Cinema and History: Screening the Past

by Michael Chopra-Gant
     
 

With its unparalleled capacity for realism, cinema seems uniquely positioned to bring history to life for a mass audience. Whether retelling stories about past events or reflecting more contemporary issues, cinema has been arguably the primary source of historical knowledge for many people from its earliest years right up to the present. This volume examines some

Overview

With its unparalleled capacity for realism, cinema seems uniquely positioned to bring history to life for a mass audience. Whether retelling stories about past events or reflecting more contemporary issues, cinema has been arguably the primary source of historical knowledge for many people from its earliest years right up to the present. This volume examines some of the key historical issues raised by popular film, including what film might tell us about the past, the reliability of movies as sources of historical knowledge, and how film might compare to more "serious" works of history.Combining historical methods with insights from linguistics and film studies, Cinema and History discusses the historical resonance of films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Gangs of New York (2002) and United 93 (2006), andinvestigates the parameters and limitations of fiction film as a way to access history.

Editorial Reviews

Total Film
History. It's just one thing after another, right? Not according to this slim tome, which argues filmed history is more about storytelling than facts. Using a selection of movies, lecturer Chopra-Gant asks some big questions about the relationship between the filcks and reality. Does Rear Window tell us anything about '50s America? Do epics like Munich give a skewed view of true events? Smartly written, it's a solid primer which asks whose story is history?'

— Jamie Russell

Sue Harper

This is a very useful book that provides a timely reminder of the complexity of the field of cinema and history... The book has a dual focus on the discipline of film history, and on the representation of the past, and it combines these two in a thought-provoking and trenchant way. It asks all the right questions, and stimulates the reader to provide answers by indicating the most fruitful paths to follow.

Marcia Landy

A readable, hugely informative volume and a valuable addition to the Short Cuts series... Chopra-Gant has achieved the miraculous feat of scaling down the complex issues without falsifying and reducing the subject matter... [He] has provided a rich critical milieu and methods that brilliantly illuminate the stakes, the character of, and limitations and potential of media's uses of the past.

Total Film - Jamie Russell

History. It's just one thing after another, right? Not according to this slim tome, which argues filmed history is more about storytelling than facts. Using a selection of movies, lecturer Chopra-Gant asks some big questions about the relationship between the filcks and reality. Does Rear Window tell us anything about '50s America? Do epics like Munich give a skewed view of true events? Smartly written, it's a solid primer which asks whose story is history?'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781905674596
Publisher:
Wallflower Press
Publication date:
08/14/2008
Series:
Short Cuts Series
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Mike Chopra-Gant is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at London Metropolitan University.

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