Cabiria (1914) Director: Giovanni Pastrone Martin Scorcese once said that the true seed of the epic film spring from Pastrone, rather than de Mille or Griffith. Pastrone freed the audience from the static single-shot scenes, thus allowing mobile cameras to take the audience along with the story. Cabiria is the great Italian epic, shot during the years … Continue reading Cabiria


Fantasmagorie (1908) Director: Émile Cohl Fantasmagorie is a stream-of-consciousness, early silent cartoon film. The film uses stop motion techniques pioneered in America. It was produced for the Gaumont Company in France. The title of the film points to the fantasmograph, a 19th century device that predated modern film. Cohl drew the objects on hundreds of … Continue reading Fantasmagorie


L'Inferno (1911) Director: Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe De Liguoro "The Inferno" is an early silent Italian film portraying the first (and most important) part of Dante's "Divine Comedy". Spurred on by Italy's War with Libya (1911-1912), the hub for early epic films spawned a burgeoning Italian film industry (see also Cabiria which was released in … Continue reading L’Inferno

The Peloponnesian War, Book VI: Sicily, Alcibiades, and the Hermae

Book VI begins with the Athenians voting to attack Sicily, despite their ignorance of the size of the island and despite Nicias pleas to the Athenians not to invade. Thucydides gives an intriguing overview of the history of the peoples of Sicily, including a settlement of escaped Trojans after the sack of Ilium. He goes … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book VI: Sicily, Alcibiades, and the Hermae

Georges Méliès Short Films (1896-1912)

I recently (re)watched several early and classic Georges Méliès films. These pictures are incredibly ingenious for the time - the cutting room floor plays a key role in the development of each of these films as we see Méliès's chaotic and imaginative world filled with magic and intrigue. His world is often chaotic and scrambled with characters … Continue reading Georges Méliès Short Films (1896-1912)