Tag Archives: silent film

From Renee Smith to Sita Devi: Retrieving the Forgotten Enchantress of Silent Era

Indian cinema had birthed a fair share of visionaries even before the beginning of what later came to be termed as the Golden era. Under the reigns of the British Raj, certain Indian artists thrived upon the offerings that colonial engagements with art had to offer and used the political situation of the period to […]

Metropolis (1927): Death and the Megamachine

In his seminal work Technics and Civilization, Lewis Mumford, a pioneer in the field of urban studies, developed the concept large, hierarchical organizations which he would eventually call “megamachines.” Since the megamachine, which he defines as a machine using humans as its components, has its origins in ancient Egypt and the construction of the pyramids, […]

The Birth of a Nation (1915) The Fall of a Nation (1916)

D.W. Griffith’s masterpiece has long haunted film critics and historians. The first “blockbuster,” it’s the most important, and until Gone With the Wind in 1939, the highest-grossing film in the history of American cinema. Yet it’s also an evil work of racist propaganda that helped spur on the birth of the second Ku Klux Klan. […]

Broken Blossoms (1919)

Most people remember D.W. Griffith, if they remember him at all, as the director of the film that helped give rise to the second incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan. The, vile racist depiction of blacks in Birth of a Nation is still shocking. Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Sturmer, was hanged at Nuremberg […]