A Case Study of Space in the Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon part 1 (1897- 1911)

A Case Study of Space in the Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon part 1 (1897- 1911)

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In this documentary Cruickshank presents three films, constructed from the Mitchell and Kenyon film rolls discovered in a Blackburn chemist shop in 2002. These “create a virtual landscape of the period more extensive than anything comparable in UK cinema.” (Keiller, in Weber and Wilson, 2008, p.35). The British Film Institute restored the fragile nitrate film, producing a compilation of some of the best of the twenty-six hours of filming. The collection included eight hundred and twenty six reels of black and white actuality primitive films, which according to Nelmes “has extended our understanding of cinema’s debt to pre-cinematic genres.” (2003, p.322).
Film theory tends to have taken a “spatial turn” in recent decades (Shiel, 2001, p.5) and this analysis explores people’s attitudes to space within modernising cities. The films demonstrate how aspects of space affect people within their industrialising, urban area. Shiel suggests that cinema has a “striking and distinctive ability to capture and express the spatial complexity” (2001, p.1). In an age before motorised transport totally dominated roads, the walker or flaneur could wander along city streets wondering at the marvels of the modernising technologies which were shaping the developing cities. In these films the contemporary audience can share this sense of awe. This may account for cinema’s ability to shape our imaginings of cities.
The city plays a central part in modern and post-modern life, and from its conception cinema has played an important part in creating imaginings of a “cinema-city.”(Shiel,2001, p.1). These films have allowed audiences a snapshot of industrialised cities, such as Nottingham and Manchester, as they were at the turn of the Twentieth Century...

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...‘Now You see it Now You Don’t ’, in, Grieveson, L, and Kramer, P, (eds), (2004), The Silent Cinema Reader, London: Routledge. pp.41-50.
Mumford, L, (1937), ‘What is a City? Architectural Record’, in Miles, M and Hall, T, and Borden, T, (eds), (2004), The City Culture Reader, (2nd ed.), London: Routledge, pp.20-32.
Nelmes, J, (2003), An Introduction to Film Studies, ( 3rded.), London: Routledge.
Simmel, ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ in ‘The Sociology of Georg Simmel (1950) [1903], in Miles, M, Hall, T, and Borden, I, (ed), 2004, London: Routledge, pp.12-19.
Weber and Wilson, (eds), 2008, Cities in Transition, London: Wallflower Press.
Gunning, T, ‘Pictures of Crowd Splendour: The Mitchell and Kenyon Factory Gate Films’, in Toulmin, V, Popple, S, and, Russell, (2004), The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon: London, British Film Institute Publishing, pp.49-58.

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