HRC Interdisciplinary Seminar Series: 2009-2010
The inter-relationship between the medium of cinema and the historical past is complex and multi-faceted. The representation of the past has always been a staple of the film industry, although the accuracy of the representations that have been furnished of remote and not so remote events has often been contested. Some films have aimed for authenticity, while others have been concerned solely or largely with spectacle. Films have sometimes made history themselves or been a part of it; others have profoundly influenced the sense of the past. Cinema has of course been a weapon of political propaganda for left and right, but ideologies of a less obvious nature have also been woven into film texts. The understanding of film and of cinema’s role in society have their own histories, one to which numerous prominent intellectuals have contributed. The relationship between film and history also encompasses issues pertaining to historical research since films from the past provide much evidence about emotions, feelings and everyday customs that is not easily obtainable from conventional sources.