Cavendish, P. (2004) The hand that turns the handle: camera operators and the poetics of the camera in pre-revolutionary Russian film. Slavonic and East European Review , 82 (2) pp. 201-245.
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This article seeks to chart the evolving nature of the camera operator's function at a time when Russian cinema was facing the challenge of self-definition, not only in relation to other art forms, but also in relation to world cinema. It will challenge the conventional notion of the cameraman as merely a ‘hand that turns the handle’, a technician (if not automaton) who was responsible only for the correct speed of shooting and exposure of the print. If camera operation started out as a rudimentary craft, one that was nevertheless valued because the mechanisms of the cinematograph were little understood, it rapidly became an art-form as the language of silent cinema acquired sophistication. This article will analyse the evolving nature of the relationship between the director and the camera operator, and the development of certain conventions which pertained to the role of the camera and controlled the expression of dramatic ideas in visual form. It will also seek to identify the reasons for a number of major aesthetic shifts which took place in Russian cinema during the period concerned, and the importance of the visual arts—in particular painting and still photography—in determining those shifts.
|Title:||The hand that turns the handle: camera operators and the poetics of the camera in pre-revolutionary Russian film|
|Open access status:||An open access version is available from UCL Discovery|
|Additional information:||Published by Maney Publishing|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies)|
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