History Department

'Life is a movie!'
History, home movies, the past and the present



Thursday - November 29, 2007
University Center, Room 364 - 6:00pm
Reception starts at 5:30pm
Free and open to the public

‘Life is a Movie!’ declared a 1942 Kodak advertisement, it continued, ‘Only a movie camera can picture life as it changes from one moment to another’. This description articulates the impact which manufacturers saw for their product. Describing life as a movie captures the important position which cinema culture has claimed in our everyday lives. Moving image technology has extended far beyond celluloid film, but many of the ideas and possibilities within new technologies were first seen within the cinema. It is since the late 1800s that dramatic changes have occurred in our sensory perceptions due to the growth of filmmaking and the cinema. Michel de Certeau has said that contemporary society is characterized by its preoccupation with vision to the extent that everything is measured by ‘its ability to show or be shown’.

The ways in which people could learn to make home movies, through filmmaking manuals and magazines, are necessarily imbued with the importance of seeing and showing; this is the nature of the medium of film. What is instructive to examine within the realm of amateur filmmaking is what was deemed important to be shown, and how this should be done. Doing this demonstrates that amateur filmmaking is a distinctly modern way in which people actively engaged with recording and remembering their lives. They were encouraged to plan for their future memories while simultaneously taking part of cinematic culture.

Dr. Mary Tomsic teaches in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne in subjects that examine gender and sexuality historically and theoretically. Her current research project is titled Making Home Movies: Creating, recording, remembering in Australian and the modern world. She is also collaborating on a project about contemporary understandings of homophobia and masculinity. Her most recent publication is “‘we WILL invent ourselves, the age of the New Image is at hand’: Creating, learning and talking with Australian feminist filmmaking”, Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 22, issue 53 (2007): 287-306.

For more information, call 216.523.7191 or email Dr Nicki Tarulevicz: n.tarulevicz@csuohio.edu.



engaged learning

Mailing Address
Cleveland State University
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
Department of History
2121 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2214
Campus Location
Rhodes Tower, Room 1319
1860 East 22nd Street
Mary Ann Tokmenko
Phone: 216.687.3920
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