Skip to main content


UK, 1979 (MIFF 1980, Programme 44)

Director: Noel Burch

What we call the language of Cinema is not a "natural" language. It did not grow spontaneously out of the technology of animated photography, it had to be fashioned by social and cultural forces. It has a history. Central to that history was transformation of those projected scenes from a mentally exterior, distant representation "up there on the screen", into an imaginary environment and various pictorial strategies. By taking certain films from the primitive cinema (1896-1906) which prophetically - and often humourously - act out the major gestures of the future Cinema Institution, and by inter-cutting them with stylised evocations of the successive periods of development of the Institutional Mode of Representation, this film suggests possible answers to such key questions as: where do those film-school rules come from? And what do we learn when we learn to "read" narrative cinema?

See also...


A retrospective view of how Robert Flaherty's ''Man of Aran" was made, including interviews with participants in the original opus shot in Ireland's Aran Islands in 1933 and 1934. ... More »


Raak is a wedge-tailed eagle and this is his life story of his lonely flights across the Australian bush. ... More »

Eildon Story

Attractions at the Eildon Dam; boating, swimming and fishing, and experimental manufacture of double-sided wallboard by a special process. ... More »


The Inheritance is one of the most successful of all compilation films. Most of its newsreel footage is unfamiliar, and Harold Mayer has married this rare material with old stills and specially shot ... More »


A ballet film giving us a high-spirited panorama of mankind's development from ancient Egypt to the space age. ... First Prize, International Television Festival, Buffalo; Award of Merit, San ... More »

Sunday in Melbourne

An experiment in the creative use of visuals and sound, this film shows the loneliness of the aimless wanderers in the city streets. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director