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Early Cinema Today: The Art of Programming and Live Performance

Early Cinema Today: The Art of Programming and Live Performance

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Early Cinema Today: The Art of Programming and Live Performance

Edited by: Martin Loiperdinger

The first book in the new KINtop: Studies in Early Cinema Series

Publication date: 2011
Total pages: 152 + vi
ISBN: 9780 86196 702 5
Price: £ 20.00


Early Cinema has largely been a cinema of visual attractions. The art of programming and performing cinematograph shows on fairgrounds, in town-halls and in permanent cinemas required special skills of showmanship which have been lost for nearly a century. Over the last two decades, film archives and film festivals have created new ways of presenting early films, adapting the lost culture of cinematograph programmes for today’s audiences.

This volume presents a number of innovative projects; Mariann Lewinsky’s A Hundred Years Ago programmes for scholars and archivists at the Bologne Festival, Eric de Kuyper’s integrating films from the 1910s into elaborated performance events, both curators’ jointly programmed From the Deep series at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Madeleine Bernstorff’s and Mariann Lewinsky’s weekend in Berlin with films related to the suffragettes’ movement, Vanessa Toulmin’s numerous shows of early local films for today’s local people, and last but not least the Crazy Cinématographe, the Luxemburg fairground cinematograph show curated by Nicole Dahlen and Claude Bertemes, which includes front-shows and film narrators, the essentials of fairground performance. All these remarkable appropriations of early cinema offer a variety of new perspectives to experience and understand what cinema has been in the beginning.

KINtop. Studies in Early Cinema: Volume 1
Series editors: Frank Kessler, Sabine Lenk and Martin Loiperdinger


Preface by Martin Loiperdinger

Andrea Haller and Martin Loiperdinger
Stimulating the Audience: Early Cinema’s Short Film Programme Format 1906 to 1912

Part I: Programming and Performing Early Cinema Today – Outstanding Examples

Mariann Lewinsky
The Best Years of Film History: A Hundred Years Ago

Tom Gunning
‘From the Bottom of the Sea’: Early Film at the Oberhausen Festival

Madeleine Bernstorff
From the Past to the Future: Suffragettes – Extremists of Visibility in Berlin

Eric de Kuyper
Silent Films in their First Decades – Objects for Research or for Exhibition?

Vanessa Toulmin
Programming the Local: Mitchell & Kenyon and the Local Film Show

Part II: Crazy Cinématographe:Early Cinema Performance on the Luxembourg Fairground

Claude Bertemes and Nicole Dahlen
Back to the Future: Early Cinema and Late Economy of Attention An interim report about Crazy Cinématographe

Dick Tomasovic
The Crazy Cinématographe, or the Art of the Impromptu Spectator

Claude Bertemes and Nicole Dahlen
The Art of Crazy Programming Documentation of Crazy Cinématographe Programmes, 2007 to 2010

Frank Kessler
Programming and Performing Early Cinema Today: Strategies and Dispositifs


Frank Kessler is professor of Media History at Utrecht University and a former president of DOMITOR. He published on early cinema as well as on the history of film theories.
Sabine Lenk is film archivist and an affiliated researcher at Utrecht University. She has published widely on archival issues and the history of early cinema.
Martin Loiperdinger is professor of Media Studies at Trier University. His publications on early cinema include articles, books, television features, exhibitions and DVDs.

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