Cinematic ghosts : haunting and spectrality from silent by Murray Leeder

By Murray Leeder

In 1896, Maxim Gorky declared cinema "the country of Shadows." In its silent, ashen-grey international, he observed a land of spectral, and ever considering that then cinema has had a distinct dating with the haunted and the ghostly. Cinematic Ghosts is the 1st assortment dedicated to this topic, together with fourteen new essays, devoted to exploring the various variations of the films' phantoms.

Cinematic Ghosts includes essays revisiting a few vintage ghost movies in the genres of horror (The Haunting, 1963), romance (Portrait of Jennie, 1948), comedy (Beetlejuice, 1988) and the artwork movie (Uncle Boonmee Who Can keep in mind His prior Lives, 2010), in addition to essays facing a couple of movies from worldwide, from Sweden to China. Cinematic Ghosts lines the archetype of the cinematic ghost from the silent period till at the present time, supplying analyses from various historic, aesthetic and theoretical dimensions

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Extra resources for Cinematic ghosts : haunting and spectrality from silent cinema to the digital era

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The scenario the song describes 40 CINEMATIC GHOSTS echoes Plato’s Cave, itself famously linked to both cinema and mental space by Jean-Louis Baudry,1 except the singer is not the one doing the looking. Rather, he needs to be seen but cannot be. ”2 Terry Castle has influentially historicized Freud’s uncanny through her analysis of the Phantasmagoria, the theatrical form developed in the late eighteenth century that used magic lantern technology and a gamut of theatrical tricks to project frightening images onto screens (an older-than-oldtime movie).

But the supernatural effect here comes from the fact that the model merges with her image, the image itself replacing her. And in the usual logic of reversible magic procedures, the image itself can also give birth to the live entity. Here is a photograph in which the living body not only emanates its light-bearing specter but also becomes replaced by it, as body melds with paper. Image and model have an interchangeable ontology here, not simply through an indexical process of tracing an image but via a mysterious process in which image replaces body and vice versa.

Paul Coates describes each spirit photographer he treats in his book as a medium. 30 Coates describes Duguid’s process (65–89). Likewise Madge Donahue claimed to achieve her “skotographs” by holding photographic plates in her hand until a series of taps “tell me that the spirit photographers wish to speak to me” (Scrapbook of spirit photographs by Madge Donohue c. 1929–1935 with notes by Ms. ). 31 Coates, ix. 28 29 28 CINEMATIC GHOSTS are visible to anyone present rather than making use of the mediumistic properties of the sensitive plate) consisted of photographs made during manifestation séances, including images of what became known as “full materializations,” full-bodied figures of spirits.

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