Body Shots: Early Cinema's Incarnations / Edition 1

Body Shots: Early Cinema's Incarnations / Edition 1

by Jonathan Auerbach
Pub. Date:
University of California Press
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Body Shots: Early Cinema's Incarnations / Edition 1

This original and compelling book places the body at the center of cinema's first decade and challenges the idea that for early audiences, the new medium's fascination rested on visual spectacle for its own sake. Instead, as Jonathan Auerbach argues, if was the human form in motion that most profoundly shaped early cinema. Auerbach analyzes films that reveal anxieties and preoccupations about persons on public display-both exceptional figures, such as the 1896 presidential candidate William McKinley, and ordinary people caught by the movie camera in their daily routines. He examines the kinetics of vocalization-how sound in these brief (silent) films was visually registered by way of mouth and lips-and movement, that is, how bodies traversed space to create the first multishot fictional narratives. He closes with a meditation on early cinema and death (when the body stops moving) and considers the implications his analysis poses for new media and technology studies.

About the Author:
Jonathan Auerbach is Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520252592
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/09/2007
Pages: 214
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction: Body, Movement, Space     1
Bodies in Public
Looking In: McKinley at Home     15
Looking Out: Visualizing Self-Consciousness     42
Interlude. The Vocal Gesture: Sounding the Origins of Cinema     63
Bodies in Space
Chasing Film Narrative     85
Windows 1900; or, Life of an American Fireman     104
Conclusion: The Stilled Body     124
Notes     137
Bibliography     179
Index     195

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