With the success of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011) and Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist (2011) nothing seems more contemporary in recent film than the styles, forms, and histories of early and silent cinemas. This collection considers the latest return to silent film alongside the larger historical field of visual repetitions and affective currents that wind their way through 20th and 21st century visual cultures. Contributors bring together several fields of research, including early and silent cinema studies, experimental and new media, historiography and archive theory, and studies of media ontology and epistemology. Chapters link the methods, concerns, and concepts of early and silent film studies as they have flourished over the last quarter century to the most recent developments in digital culture—from YouTube to 3D—recasting this contemporary phenomenon in popular culture and new media against key debates and concepts in silent film scholarship. An interview with acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin closes out the collection.
2017 SCMS Award Winner, Best Essay in an Edited Collection: "A YouTube Bestiary: Twenty-Six Theses on a Post-Cinema of Animal Attractions" by James Leo Cahill.
Introduction: Celluloid Specters, Digital Anachronisms Paul Flaig and Katherine Groo 1. Alice in the Archives Katherine Groo 2. Eternally Early Brian Price 3. "Historicity begins with decay and ends with the pretense of immortality": An Interview with Paolo Cherchi Usai 4. Paris 1900: Archiveology and the Compilation Film Catherine Russell 5. After Life, Early Cinema: Remaking the Past with Hirokazu Kore-eda Jonah Corne 6. Playback, Play-forward: Anna May Wong in Double Exposure Yiman Wang 7. The Living Nickelodeon and Silent Film Sound Today: An Interview with Professor Rick Altman 8. Intertext As Archive: Méliès, Hugo, and New Silent Cinema Constance Balides 9. Cross-Medial Afterlives: The Film Archive in Contemporary Fiction Joshua Yumibe 10. Supposing that the Archive is a Woman Paul Flaig 11. The Life Cycle of an Analog Medium: Tacita Dean’s FILM Jennifer Lynn Peterson 12. From Silence to Babel: Farocki’s Image Infoscape Brianne Cohen 13. Found Memories of Film History: Industry in a Post-Industrial World, Cinema in a Post-Filmic Age Brian Jacobson 14. A YouTube Bestiary: Twenty-Six Theses on a Post-Cinema of Animal Attractions James Leo Cahill 15. Laughter in an Ungoverned Sphere: Actuality Humor in Early Cinema and Web 2.0 Rob King 16. "The Biggest Kuleshov Experiment Ever": A Conversation with Guy Maddin about Séances
AFI Film Readers, published in cooperation with the American Film Institute, focus on important issues and themes in film and media scholarship.