However according to the organisations behind Exotic Europe, this view has been re-evaluated in recent years.
The four organisations have taken the initiative to preserve around 100 early, non-fiction films from 1905 – 1926 by restoring and copying them onto safety film stock, and on video and DVD. This was done with the support of the EU’s RAPHAEL programme.
As part of the project, they published a DVD, a video and a booklet in three languages: English, German and Dutch. The DVD and the video contain fifteen of the films and three essays with a compilation of clips from forty films plus a film about the restoration process.
The booklet focuses mainly on the restoration craft and only slightly on the cinematic-historic context and the aesthetic and structural developments in early non-fiction cinema. It is very interesting to read about the different methods used for colouring the b/w films back then, the techniques used today to recreate these colours as closely as possible and the impressive, meticulous work of restoring films frame by frame, areas that are often neglected. It is nevertheless disappointing that the editors haven’t included more information about the individual films, the contexts they were made in, and the development of the non-fiction film language. This would have increased the booklet’s appeal to a wider audience.
The last chapter in the booklet however does list some characteristics of films of that time: The subjects of the films have eye-contact with the camera, many films are about trips which were very popular also then, and it is common to attach the camera to a moving train or a rocking boat to give an illusion of movement. It also mentions that themes that were dealt with are water, tourist trips, labour, folklore and everyday life – but that is about all the cinematic-historic information you get.
Login or signup to read the rest..If you do not have subscription, you can just login or register, and choose free guest or subscription to read all articles.