CIN105Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Ethnographic Film, Psychoanalysis, Camp De Thiaroye

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6 Aug 2016
CIN105: Film and (Post) Colonialism
Film and Colonialism
- Myth of Oedipus and the relationship boys have with their parents/ their development
- Cinema and psychoanalysis are contemporaries of each other - 1895: when cinema and
psychoanalysis was born & Freud’s introduction to the unconscious. Rooted in the same
historical moment and tied to each other and are able to explain each other
European Colonialism/ Age of Empire
1895: half of the world’s land mass was under control of European powers that ensured global
dominance by extracting wealth and denying political control to those they conquered.
European powers were among the first to explore the aesthetics possibilities of the film medium
and to establish an infrastructure for the production of film. History of film became bound up
with the history of colonialism
Types of Films in Colonialism
- Travel logs  early form of cinema. The Lumière Brothers credited with inventing it, first to
exhibit moving pictures they created publicly for a paying audience, and developed a larger
catalogue of movies called actualités: things happening now. Films that are made abroad,
capture (mundane) events  audience is a virtual traveller that can see the world without
leaving home, positioned as virtual colonial adventurers
- Ethnographic film  European encounters with Native people during which the exploration and
settlement of these lands inspired people to forge a study of human diversity (anthropology).
Allowed anthropologists to record and study the rituals of the people they were interested in 
not interesting in creating aesthetically pleasing stories, but only to capture the rituals to study
and share them
oDocumentaries are interested in cataloguing and categorizing human beings (diversity),
and an exercise in preserving the people because they cannot survive in the modern
oCinema became complicit because of relying on conventions associated with imagery
and the way people were imaged  stranger to modern technology, preserving the image
of the Inuit that the Western world created (not part of the contemporary moment)
Significant because early colonialist films served:
- To institutionalize certain looking relations that has endured into the present  (men look while
women are the object of the gaze/watching themselves being looked at). Looking in terms of
cultural differences  white people look and non whites are the object of the gaze, under
- To shore up certain assumptions about racial difference that were already in circulation when
cinema was invented  white people were more evolved than non whites, the rationale given by
colonial powers for their conquest of other nations was the white man’s burden (poem):
advocating Europeans send their sons into exile to serve their captives’ (colonized populations)
needs. Burden to carry is to go to the colonial places to uplift colonialized populations culturally
by sharing their the glory of Euro civilization  need to educate others to evolve and become
Only European or American films that featured natives were in Ethnographic films. Non-whites would
take on the role of the sidekick or villain (Westerns), or a colourful and exotic backdrop in which a
drama involving white characters occurs (show its appeal, it is “other,” foreign).
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