The Cinema and Its Shadow argues that race has defined the cinematic apparatus since the earliest motion pictures, especially at times of technological transition. In particular, this work explores how racial difference became central to the resolving of cinematic problems: the stationary camera, narrative form, realism, the synchronization of image and sound, and, perhaps most fundamentally, the immaterial image-the cinema\u2019s \u201cshadow,\u201d which figures both the material reality of the screen image and its racist past. Discussing early \u201crace subjects,\u201d Alice Maurice demonstrates that these films influenced cinematic narrative in lasting ways by helping to determine the relation between stillness and motion, spectacle and narrative drive. The book examines how motion picture technology related to race, embodiment, and authenticity at specific junctures in cinema\u2019s development, including the advent of narratives, feature films, and sound. In close readings of such films as The Cheat, Shadows, and Hallelujah!, Maurice reveals how the rhetoric of race repeatedly embodies film technology, endowing it with a powerful mix of authenticity and magic. In this way, the racialized subject became the perfect medium for showing off, shoring up, and reintroducing the cinematic apparatus at various points in the history of American film. Moving beyond analyzing race in purely thematic or ideological terms, Maurice traces how it shaped the formal and technological means of the cinema.
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 431 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 23 mm
"An excellent volume for anyone interested in early cinema, racial representation, and cinematic technology."-CHOICE
"Alice Maurice's scholarship is deftly written and phenomenally useful to those who study American racism."-Journal of American Culture
"Presents a challenging and unique approach not only to black film studies and Asian film studies but also to the study of cinema as a whole."-Black Camera