exploitation and economic hardship. Nevertheless, Grierson relegated the people who did the actual work to his film's periphery, even as he synthesized the familiar narrative of a production process with modernist aesthetics. The film enjoyed a strong critical success, suggesting the extent to which the British documentary had lost its way in the years since the First World War, but also the potential for renewal in the 1930s and beyond.
During the 1920s, documentary film-makers struggled either at the margins of commercial cinema or outside it altogether. Despite the comparatively inexpensive nature of documentary production, even the most successful films did little more than return their costs. The general absence of profit motive meant that documentarians had other reasons for film-making, and often had to rely on sponsorship (as Flaherty did with Nanook), or self-financing. Although conventional travelogues had a long-standing niche in the market-place, outside the Soviet Union there was little or no formal or institutional framework to support more innovative efforts at production.
Despite their low returns, in the industrialized nations non-fiction programmes were shown in a wide range of venues. In the United States, films such as Nanook of the North, Berlin: Symphony of a City, and The Man with the Movie Camera enjoyed regular showings at motion picture theatres in a few large cities and so were reviewed by newspaper critics, with varying degrees of perspicacity ( Berlin was considered to be a disappointing travelogue by New York critics). Films such as Manhatta were sometimes shown as shorts within the framework of mainstream cinema's balanced programmes, and avant-garde documentaries were often shown at art galleries. In Europe, the network of ciné clubs provided an outlet for many artistically and politically radical documentaries. Cultural institutions and political organizations of all types screened (and occasionally sponsored) documentaries as well. Even in the Soviet Union, prominent documentaries quickly departed town-centre theatres for extended runs at workers' clubs. Because most non-fiction programmes generally had some kind of educational or informational value, they penetrated into all aspects of social life and were shown in the church, the union hall, the school, and cultural institutions like the Museum of Natural History ( New York). By the end of the 1920s, then, documentary was a broadly diffused if financially precarious phenomenon, characterized by its diversity of production and exhibition circumstances.
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Brownlow, Kevin ( 1979), The War, the West and the Wilderness.
Calder-Marshall, Arthur ( 1963), The Innocent Eye: The Life of Robert J. Flaherty.
Cooper, Merian C. ( 1925), Grass.
Flaherty, Robert J. ( 1924), My Eskimo Friends.
Hall, Stuart ( 1981), The Whites of their Eyes.
Holm, Bill, and Quimby, George Irving ( 1980), Edward S. Curtis in the Land of the War Canoes.
Jacobs, Lewis (ed.) ( 1979), The Documentary Tradition.
Musser, Charles, with Nelson, Carol ( 1991), High-Gass Moving Pictures: Lyman H. Howe and the Forgotten Era of Traveling Exhibition, 1880-1920.
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A. L. REES
Modern art and silent cinema were born simultaneously. In 1895 Cézanne's paintings were seen in public for the first time in twenty years. Largely scorned, they also stimulated artists to the revolution in art that took place between 1907 and 1912, just as popular film was also entering a new phase of development. Crossing the rising barriers between art and public taste, painters and other modernists were among the first enthusiasts for American adventure movies, Chaplin, and cartoons, finding in them a shared taste for modern city life, surprise, and change. While the influential philosopher Henri Bergson criticized cinema for falsely eliding the passage of time, his vivid metaphors echo and define modernism's attitude to the visual image: 'form is only the snapshot view of a transition.'
New theories of time and perception in art, as well as the popularity of cinema, led artists to try to put 'paintings in motion' through the film medium. On the eve of the First World War, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, author of The Cubist Painters ( 1913), explained the animation process in his journal Les Soirées de Paris and enthusiastically compared Le Rythme coloré ('Colour rhythms', 1912-14), an abstract film planned by the painter Léopold Survage, to 'fireworks, fountains and electric signs'. In 1918 the young Louis Aragon wrote in Louis Delluc's Le Film that cinema must have 'a place in the avant-garde's preoccupations.