With the success of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011) and Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist (2011) nothing seems more contemporary in recent film than the styles, forms, and histories of early and silent cinemas. This collection considers the latest return to silent film alongside the larger historical field of visual repetitions and affective currents that wind their way through 20th and 21st century visual cultures. Contributors bring together several fields of research, including early and silent cinema studies, experimental and new media, historiography and archive theory, and studies of media ontology and epistemology. Chapters link the methods, concerns, and concepts of early and silent film studies as they have flourished over the last quarter century to the most recent developments in digital culture—from YouTube to 3D—recasting this contemporary phenomenon in popular culture and new media against key debates and concepts in silent film scholarship. An interview with acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin closes out the collection.

chapter |16 pages


Celluloid specters, digital anachronisms

chapter 1|21 pages

Alice in the archives

chapter 2|15 pages

Eternally early

chapter 4|22 pages

Paris 1900

Archiveology and the compilation film

chapter 5|21 pages

After life, early cinema

Remaking the past with hirokazu Kore-eda

chapter 6|20 pages

Playback, play-forward

Anna may Wong in double exposure

chapter 9|21 pages

Cross-medial afterlives

The Film archive in contemporary fiction

chapter 10|20 pages

Supposing that the archive is a woman

chapter 12|23 pages

From silence to babel

Farocki's image infoscape

chapter 13|20 pages

Found memories of film history

Industry in a post-industrial world, cinema in a post-filmic age

chapter 14|31 pages

A youtube bestiary

Twenty-six theses on a post-cinema of animal attractions

chapter 15|21 pages

Laughter in an ungoverned sphere

Actuality humor in early cinema and web 2.0

chapter 16|15 pages

“The biggest kuleshov experiment ever”

A Conversation with guy maddin about séances