Filmové herectví, česká němá kinematografie a otázky studia stylu

Title in English Film Acting, Czech Silent Cinema, and Questions of the Film Style Research

KOKEŠ Radomír D.

Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Iluminace
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords film acting; (inter)national history of film style; Czech silent cinema; poetics of cinema; film analysis
Description This article focuses on formally analytical research of film acting and raises two questions. (1) To what degree it is a feasible approach towards film acting outline and how does it explain the continuities and discontinuities of a stylistic history of Czech silent cinema till 1922? (2) To what degree such aim is or is not attainable with the help of existing knowledge in the field of international film style historiography? In its first part, this study follows top-down argumentation. It reflects the already existing interpretative frameworks associated with the early history of film acting, mainly in large foreign cinemas (for example the American and the French). These are related to the cinematic practices of Czech cinema in this particular era on one side, and the constructive principles of preserved Czech films from the late teens and early 1920s on the other. Instead of mechanically identifying the similar or even the same features, this article attempts to critically examine the validity, usability and explanatory value of these interpretative frameworks vis-a-vis the stylistic history of Czech cinema. The second part of this article reverses the previous process of the argumentation as it moves from the bottom to the top. It focuses on a thorough stylistic and narrative analysis of particular Czech films on the background of identified period filmmaking practices in Czech cinema. The article thus offers a synchronic explanation of certain stylistic aspects of a one year of Czech film production (1918) and discusses three three-reels films with a strong female protagonist: Čertisko (The Little Rascal), A vášeň vítězí (And the Passion Triumphs), and Učitel orientálních jazyků (The Oriental Languages' Teacher). In connection with these films, the article analyzes the principles of the acting techniques, explores the questions of cinematic staging and, above all, explains their functions in particular film works, which are compared one to another and put in a broader historical context.
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