Jenny Lind Room

Delivered by Paul Elliot

“Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows.” Maxim Gorky upon seeing the first Lumiere presentation

Today we take the experience of film for granted but what did cinema mean to those who first saw it? At the turn of the nineteenth century there were a whole host of inventions that exploited the moving image. Weird visual gadgets and toys such as the Phenakistoscope, the zoetrope and the room-sized diorama promised visual thrills to the modern city dweller eager to experience new and exciting media. However in 1896, when the Lumiere brothers unveiled their new invention the cinematograph, the public was presented with a brand new way of looking at the world and, so contemporary writers thought, a brand new way of thinking about it. This talk takes us back to a time when cinema was still young and the moving image had everything to offer.

It concludes with a screening of George Méliès’ film A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Paul Elliott is the author of Hitchcock and the Cinema of Sensations, a study that deals with embodiment and philosophy in the work of Alfred Hitchcock and Guattari Reframed, an introductory volume on the French psychoanalyst and activist Felix Guattari. He has a PhD in film studies and has written widely in the area of cinema and British film.