"The one real calamity, the one fatal flaw which can afflict a human group and prevent it from achieving fulfilment is to be alone." (Claude Lévi-Strauss: Race, History and Culture)

The chapter on cinema brings to a close our study of the human need and desire to share stories,
and how we use pictures, literature, theatre, and cinema to tell those stories,
to understand and record our world,
to amuse, to inspire, to heal, to inform, to find new ways of seeing and of being,
with ourselves and with our fellow humans.

Be familiar with the following terms, works and artists from Chapter 8 of our textbook and from class discussions.



persistence of vision
View a scene from The Magic Box (John and Roy Boulting, 1951) here.

narrative cinema
Film director Martin Scorcese on documentary vs. narrative film

documentary cinema
View examples
here (The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl), here (The American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz) and here (Reel Injun).
absolute or avant-garde film
View Bernard Léger's Ballet Méchanique and
Man Ray's Return to Reason here.
For a different spin of the term "absolute cinema," view South Korea's Lee Byung Hun in Absolute Cinema Experience here.



point of view (POV)
Visual example here

objective viewpoint
subjective viewpoint

cinéma vérité




The Lumière Brothers and their film Arrival of a train at La Ciotat (1895)
The Lumière's cinématographe

Georges Méliès and his film A Trip to the Moon (1902) ; restored hand-colored version, with music by Air (
Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel)

: film short directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, from the 2006 film "declaration of love to cinema," Paris, je t'aime.

View Tuileries with English subtitles here.
View Tuileries without subtitles here.

[Not required but interesting: Christie Karas Yahoo article "Don't drink the water: translated travel tips for coming to America." Thanks to Danika for sharing the link!]

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
2011 Film short about the curative power of books, directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, produced by
Moonbot Studios
2012 Book by William Joyce: click on "Explore the book" to read several pages
Wikipedia article about the film short and book
Inspiration for this story:
the storm sequence from Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. (viewing not required: the storm begins at 55:08)
the tornado sequence from Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz,
and real life event Hurricane Katrina.
[Not required but interesting: The making of Morris Lessmore here. // Interactive iPad App trailer here.]

            Above: an early Lumière advertisement

            Below: an ad for the Edison Kinetoscope


            A Trip to the Moon
, by Georges Méliès


Open Culture: 635 free movies online

Film Criticism 

Cascadia International Women's Film Festival 

Oscar nominated short films

D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation

Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," narrated by Orson Welles

Website of William Joyce, author of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Yasujiro Ozu's Floating Weeds

Flash mobs featuring Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" can be seen at Moyers and company


Cultural critic Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Amy Herzog on "Images of Thought and Acts of Creation: Deleuze, Bergson and the Question of Cinema"

André Bazin on "The Myth of Total Cinema"

Susan Sontag on "The Decay of Cinema"

Tom Perlmutter (National Film Board of Canada) on The Evolution of Cinema and the Birth of a New Art Form

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