Media as the link of history and present

Cinema was presented as three different ways in past decades, most familiar, as global entertainment, as a post-photographic medium, and as a still significant public sphere (Boeder, 2005). Besides, another principal mission of the film was exhibited in museums and galleries as proofs of the historical process.

It is essential to find out how the media’s past attach to their present in order to understand the development of media hence apply them conform to the regular pattern. Nevertheless, it is perplexing to explore the history, since “film history is best described as a series of discontinuous snapshots that illuminate a whole topography”, so it is significant to “map this field as a network rather than as discrete units” (Elsaesser, 2016:27).

Taking Francofonia for analysis, it is an internationally co-produced drama film in 2015, directed by Alexander Sokurov. Francofonia is not a regular documentary film with having a glance of the exhibitions in the Louvre, time tracked back to 1940, there were two historical figures, one is the Louvre Museum curator Jacques Jaujard and the other is the Nazi officer Franz Metternich, responsible for receiving the Louvre (Weissberg, 2015). After the Vichy government was established in the south, Paris was “taken over” and away from the war fire. In that weird and horrible “peace”, the two camps concluded an abnormal alliance to defend the order of the Louvre and protect possessions in the museum.

In general, media or technologies are extensions of some physical, social, psychological, or intellectual function of humans (McLuhan and Gordon, 2013). In Francofonia, the director attempted to link the history to present, in some way, the media has the same effect, causing people meditate and ponder. Sokolov put into some part of historical fragments while constantly remind audiences it is a performance using the clapperboard, switching historical and reconstruction constantly. Sokolov totally disrupted the chronological way to recount a period of historical time, on the contrary, it is more subjective and unrestricted.

Written by Zifei Xu

References

Boeder, P. (2005). Habermas’ heritage: The future of the public sphere in the network society. 10 [9]. Available from http://firstmonday.org/article/view/1280/1200 [Accessed 6 March 2017]

Elsaesser, T.  (2016). Film History as Media Archaeology. Amsterdam. Amsterdam University Press. 27

McLuhan, M. and Gordon, W. (2013). Understanding media. 1st ed. New York: Gingko Press.

Weissberg, J. (2015).Venice Film Review: ‘Francofonia’. Available from http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/francofonia-review-alexander-sokurov-venice-film-festival-1201585728/ [Accessed 20 February 2017]

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