At the Movies: The Silent Era
The first films simply recorded what happened in front of the camera. Then, filmmakers like Edwin Porter and Georges Méliès thought to mold the reality that the camera saw. Meanwhile, the Lumière brothers were fascinated simply by the power of film to capture reality. From their work grew the tradition of documentary and news film. Méliès envisioned fantasies that never were. From his work grew our current obsession with special effects films. Porterís approach to the medium was between the two poles represented by his French contemporaries. He wanted to tell stories grounded in the real world. From his work developed the mainstream tradition of fiction film.
1 1/2 hours
Watch The Great Train Robbery and other early silent films (Lumière, Méliès, Sennett, etc.) while thinking about the following questions. As you watch, jot down notes (hit the pause button and you wonít miss anything) so you donít forget any of the important observations that youíd like to share with your classmates.
Please post your responses to the following questions on the class message board.