Sadness and gladness.

Lebas, Elizabeth (2005) Sadness and gladness. Film Studies: An International Review, 6 . pp. 27-45. ISSN 1469-0314

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Abstract

Lebas states that this essay on the first period of Glasgow Corporation's cinematic enterprise in Scotland begins with a discussion of photographs by Thomas Annan, taken in the 1860s and 1870s, which not only suggests that a shift would take place in the representation of social reform from a written to visual imagery, but also suggests that this shift indicated a change in sensibility. There was a fundamental difference in that the films implied not a viewer, but a collective, an audience, which was now made up of citizens, assembled as part of a social contract between themselves and the municipality they had elected. Muncipal cinema was a cinema of social democracy which had to appeal to the widest possible audience in order to fulfill its central political motive, namely to gain consent and consensus. After World War I, the Glasgow Corporation's commissioning of films demonstrated to its citizenry the possibility of a better and more orderly life was a judicious propaganda strategy. An indication of some themes that the Corporation relied on may be useful: Firstly, there is the imagery of 19th century reformism; equally important was the feeling of inclusion for the audience; thirdly, the films showed a positive contrast between "then" and "now" and "before" and "after"; fourthly, the films exploited collective pride in the city; and lastly, the films not only drew upon established photographic and film genres, but also upon popular Scottish and urban performance traditions. This article traces Glasgow Corporation's early involvement with cinema after the First World War in terms of its earlier relation to the documentary photography of Thomas Annan and argues for the significance of municipal cinema in the advent of universal suffrage.

Item Type:Article
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Also published as "Sadness and Gladness": Glasgow nei filmati della Glasgow Corporation, 1922-1938, pp. 147-167, in Cinema e fotografia per la storia della città, Storia Urbana vol; n; 111, Franco Angeli 2006.

Research Areas:Art & Design > Art & Design
ID Code:221
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Deposited On:29 Oct 2008 15:02
Last Modified:06 Feb 2013 10:02

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