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The Cinema and Its ShadowRace and Technology in Early Cinema$
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Alice Maurice

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816678044

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816678044.001.0001

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Performing Body, Performing Image

Performing Body, Performing Image

Race and the Boundaries of Early Cinematic Narrative

Chapter:
(p.18) 1 Performing Body, Performing Image
Source:
The Cinema and Its Shadow
Author(s):

Alice Maurice

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816678044.003.0002

In the first chapter I look at how “race” helped early motion pictures make narratives out of (almost) nothing. Beginning with films that depict the cinematic apparatus (usually through analogies to other arts/technologies), I argue that these films stage a competition between the performing body and the performing image, comparing the powers of the body to the powers of the apparatus. The cinema suffers no shortage of origin stories. These early narratives play with more fluid spectatorial positions (watching and doing, looking and touching, on screen and in theatre) by linking the boundaries of the static frame to spectator/spectacle relations; and these boundaries are repeatedly exploited, transcended, and figured through racialized bodies.

Keywords:   Cinema, Race, Technology, Body, Shadow, Rhetoric, Image, Performance

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