Colloquium | Phillip Maciak

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 12:00pm

Phillip Maciak


Tricks and Actualities: The Passion Play Film, 1898-1912

From Edison’s 1898 Oberammergau Passion Play to Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 Biblical spectacle The King of Kings, the Passion Play, or Life of Christ, film was one of the most popular genres of early cinema, yet there remains very little scholarship on this archive.  In watching these sometimes bizarre, often remarkable, films, we find a genre indebted to both the special effects technologies of the trick film and the realist claims of the actuality.  My paper argues that the resultant hybrid aesthetic of these films can shed light upon hard and fast distinctions between realism and fantasy, secular and sacred in this period.

Cinema Studies Program
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