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Cinematograful în istorie

Author(s): Manuela Cernat

Journal: Studii si Cercetari de Istoria Artei : Teatru, Muzică, Cinematografie
ISSN 0039-3991

Volume: 5-6 (49-50);
Start page: 3;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: film as historical document | truth and manipulation | Lumière Brothers | Queen Mary of Romania | Georges Méliès | Boleslaw Matuszewski | Leon Popescu

According to the political context, moving images proved from the very beginning to be an ally or an enemy of History. Even the pre-cinema performances – various forms of lanterna magica – had to pay tribute to the political correctness of the day in reflecting France tribulations from Revolution to Restoration. The newsreel The Coronation of Russia’s Emperor Nicolas II, shot in 1896 by two of Lumière’s cameramen, features Romania’s future Queen Mary, who, 25 years later, reviewed in poignant terms that cultural experience in her Diary. In Romania, the first cinema public screenings were acclaimed for the future historic value of the shots, even if some producers, as Georges Méliès, indulged themselves in providing re-enacted newsreels, getting an ironic comment from King Edward VII of England. Romanian mass-media was also among the first ones to acknowledge the strong popular impact of historical features. Soon it was proved that, for small countries, the new art was a precious chance to tell the world the truth about their history. At the eve of 20th century, Romanian poets and writers, actors and filmmakers pleaded enthusiastically for the young art, seen, among others, in a revival mood of the 1848 movement, as a tool for promoting their patriotic ideals. The monumental period docudrama The Independence of Romania, produced by Leon Popescu and directed by Grigore Brezeanu, acquired unexpected contemporary meanings, especially in Transylvania, still occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
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