Re:Gary's Screening the machine course

Oksana Dykyj (
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 17:15:49 +0000 (HELP)

>Gary Handman wrote:
>I'm gonna be teaching a course this Spring (a freshman/sophomore seminar)
tentatively entitled: "Screening the Machine: Technology, Anxiety, and the
>It's going to focus on the treatment of technology and technological
developmentin the movies over time. I'll also be using newsreels and print
stuff to provide socio-cultural context for the films we watch.
>I'm still compiling my list, however, and would love to hear about your
cool ideas for stuff to watch. I'm going to try a chronological approach
with thematic
>focus within this structure (city as machine; body as machine; machine as
creator; machine as destroyer...)
>Want to play? All suggestions greatly appreciated. It'd be particularly
usefulto get recommendations for 20's, 30's, and 40's films. Also: if you have
>articles on the subject of science/tech and the movies, I'd love to hear about
Your course sounds great! My suggestions for titles are my following
pre-1930 favorites:

La Caverne maudite 1897 by Georges Melies. Usual magic with references to
large screen tv's and holograms. (aka El Espectro Rojo or Le Spectre rouge)

Le Voyage dans la lune 1902 by Melies as well. One of the earliest sci
films. I've always thought NASA figured out how to come back to earth from
this film. The capsule falls into the ocean. Both of these are available in
all sorts of compilation videos.

Paris qui dort 1924 by Rene Clair (aka The Crazy Ray in the U.S.) I'm not so
sure that you'll find this one on video but it's a delightful film shot on
location all over Paris including the top of the Eiffel Tower. The plot
revolves around a group of jet setters who come across a scientist who has
invented a machine that can stop or accelerate life in Paris.

Aelita: Queen of Mars 1924 by Yakov Protozanov. This would be great as part
of a double feature with Man with a Movie Camera. Apart from the amazing
Constructivist sets and costumes there is the nagging political undertow...
Kino on Video came out with a very good video transfer of this.

Just Imagine 1930 by David Butler. Just imagine a science fiction musical
about life in 1980! El Brendel is certainly worth a chuckle and Maureen
O'Sullivan star in this film featuring automatic doors, video phones, test
tube babies and a number of other on-the-mark items. As far as I know it's
not available on video but I hope I'm wrong.

In terms of readings, Barry Salt's FILM STYLE AND TECHNOLOGY is in its
second edition and in my opinion is the bible of the history of film technology.
Oksana Dykyj Tel: 514-848-3443
Head, Visual Media Resources Fax: 514-848-3441
Audio-Visual Department H-342 Email:
Concordia University
1455 de Maisonneuve West
Montreal, QC, H3G 1M8