City in Film

A call for papers has gone out for City in Film: Architecture, Urban Space and the Moving Image, an International Interdisciplinary Conference to be held at the University of Liverpool, 26-28th March 2008. City in Film will explore the relationship between film, architecture and the urban landscape drawing on interests in film, architecture, urban studies and civic design, cultural geography, cultural studies and related fields. The extensive list of potential subjects includes: Film, Place and Urban Identity; The role of archives in architectural, filmic and curatorial practice; Perception and aesthetics in early film actualities; Historiographies of cities in film; Presence and absence: spectral cities, ghosts and spaces of dereliction; Screen-based technologies – electronic billboards, interactive facades; Design in Architecture and the Moving Image; Film influenced architectural designs, and so on. Proposals for papers (300 words maximum) should be submitted to by 1 September 2007.

City in Film is a two-year research project at the University of Liverpool, which is examining the relationship between the city’s urban landscape and architecture and the moving image, and aims to create an online database of Liverpool films for cinema goers, producers and researchers.

How I Filmed the War

Geoffrey Malins

The latest addition to the Bioscope Library is Geoffrey Malins’ How I Filmed the War: a record of the extraordinary experiences of the man who filmed the great Somme battles etc. (1920). Malins was one of two British Official cameramen who filmed the Battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916 (the other was J.B. McDowell). The film that they shot was considered so outstanding that it was compiled into a feature length documentary (earlier Official war films had been much shorter), entitled The Battle of The Somme. It was first shown in London in October 1916 and was unquestionably a sensation. It is estimated that half the British population saw its unprecedented scenes of life for British troops on the Western front, with scenes of battle, troops going over the top, and the wounded. Malins’ book is vainglorious but rich in detail, a unique document of the making of what Nicholas Hiley has called the most socially significant British film of the twentieth century.

It’s available for free download from the Internet Archive, in PDF (24MB), DjVu (6MB) or TXT (532KB) formats. The film itself has been recently digitally restored by the Imperial War Museum, with remarkable effect, and a DVD release with new score is promised.