Pan-Asian Metropolis — The Art of Benshi/弁士の芸術

From 1 March through 3 March, the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities and the UCLA Film & Television Archive (with support from the National Film Archive of Japan) a three-day program titled "The Art of Benshi." Benshi (弁士; also known as katsudō-benshi/活動弁士 or katsuben/活弁) are live performers who accompanied silent films of Japan as well as those … Continue reading Pan-Asian Metropolis — The Art of Benshi/弁士の芸術

We just tell it how we see it, nothing more, nothing less — Neue Sachlichkeit in film

Albert Renger-Patzsch's Hochofenwerk Herrenwyk, Lübeck (1928) Germany's interwar Weimar Republic may've existed amidst political chaos but it was an incredibly fertile time for the arts. German Expressionism, although it first developed around 1900, only flowered on the screen during the interwar period. Emerging Fascists enjoyed the themes of  Arnold Fanck and Leni Riefenstahl's Mountain Movies. Less … Continue reading We just tell it how we see it, nothing more, nothing less — Neue Sachlichkeit in film

Ray Mala – Hollywood’s First Native American Star

    Ray Mala was an Inupiat actor born in Candle, Alaska on December 27th, 1906. In 1925 Mala made his way to Edendale and got a job as a cameraman with Fox Film Corporation, which relocated the following year to Movietone City, in modern Century City.   In 1932, Mala was featured as an actor in Edwin … Continue reading Ray Mala – Hollywood’s First Native American Star

Red Wing and Young Deer, the First Couple of Native American Silent Film

Cast and Crew Members at Inceville in Santa Monica, circa 1915 Before the emergence of Hollywood and the studio system, moviemaking was something of a free-for-all, open to anyone that could afford it. In the US, that privileged group was almost exclusively white and male. Roles for minorities were usually crudely stereotypical, minor, and liable … Continue reading Red Wing and Young Deer, the First Couple of Native American Silent Film

Silent night – Christmas movies of the silent era

            Happy St. Nicholas Day! For your enjoyment, a little somethin' to break the monotony of all that hardcore Christmas that has gotten to be a little bit out of control... Santa Claus (1898) was directed by George Albert Smith (Weary Willie, Making Sausages), a former portrait photographer and member of the UK's Brighton Set. … Continue reading Silent night – Christmas movies of the silent era

A History of Asian-American Cinema

INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN-AMERICAN CINEMA  Very little has been written about the involvement of Asian-Americans (and Asian-Canadians, also discussed here) in the production of film. Even though their contributions are usually overlooked, Asian-Americans have played significant roles in the formation of America's film culture since the early 20th century. In the early silent era, before the … Continue reading A History of Asian-American Cinema

Alice Guy-Blaché – First Female of Film Direction

  EARLY YEARS Alice Guy was born on July 1, 1873. Her French parents were working in Chile, where they owned a chain of bookstores. When Alice's mother got pregnant, the couple returned to Paris where Alice was born. Soon after, her parents returned to South America and left her to be raised by her … Continue reading Alice Guy-Blaché – First Female of Film Direction