Cinema du Reel – Pompidou Centre, Paris

Yesterday I went to a screening of archive footage from the collection of the Archives of French Film and the National Centre of Cinematography at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The screening was made up of 4 filmes ranging in age from 1908 to 1928 with the theme of tourism and was part of The Cinema du Reel documentary film festival .  548px-pompidou_centre_paris_arpjpg.jpgMost fascinating was the final film Chez les mangeurs d’hommes 1928.  This silent film was shot as though it was a documentary by two french explorers visiting the New Hebridies and documenting their meetings with the cannibals who lived there. The film was obviously as staged as a Richard and Judy phone in but what was interesting is that in order to prove the films voracity  they included lots of shots of the cameras (the film showed three different types of camera) filming as the action happened.  In contemporary cinema we interpret shots like these as showing the construction of the moving image and in doing so undermining the spectacle and mystic of cinema. Yet here these shots seemed to perform completely the opossite role to try and prove that the fantastical events unfolding on screen were in fact true.  It was interesting to see a familiar visual device used in such a different way. Picture from wikipedia 

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