Chapter 1


Boussinot, Le cinéma est mort. Vive le cinéma!, 91.


When we discuss the device invented by the Lumière brothers, we will refer to it by name, the Cinématographe. To refer to the moving picture camera in general, and more specifically to the “culture” that appeared with it, or to the entire period of film history before cinema was institutionalized, we will use the term kinematograph.


Boussinot, Le cinéma est mort. Vive le cinéma!, 49. Emphasis in the original.


Rodowick, The Virtual Life of Film, 93.


Boussinot, Le cinéma est mort. Vive le cinéma!, 68.


Ibid., 68–69. On the Eidophor, see for example Kira Kitsopanidou, “The Widescreen Revolution and 20th Century-Fox’s Eidophor in the 1950s,” Film History 15 (2003): 32–56.

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On page 33 of this article, Kitsopanidou describes the Eidophor in the following manner: “The Eidophor system of theatre television was born in Switzerland during the late 1930s. Its inventor, Professor Fritz Fischer (1898-1947) conceived it during the second half of 1939 after studying thoroughly the combination of the cathode tubes with fluorescent screens for the projection of television pictures in theatres.” In French, see the author’s doctoral dissertation, L’innovation technologique dans l’industrie cinématographique hollywoodienne. Le cinéma-spectacle des années 1950: une mise en perspective des stratégies liées à l’Eidophor et au Cinémascope (Université Paris 3, 2002).


We write “so-called silent cinema” because silent cinema was actually quite noisy. See Rick Altman’s summa, Silent Film Sound (2004).


Édouard Arnoldy, À perte de vues: Images et “nouvelles technologies,” d’hier et d’aujourd’hui (2005), 30.


Lucien Wahl, “Le navet d’aujourd’hui sera demain qualifié chefd’oeuvre,” Cinémagazine 24 (June 15, 1928): 426.


Pierre Desclaux, “Le film parlant,” Mon Ciné 353 (November 22, 1928): 11. Our emphasis.


At the first international conference of the Centre for Research into Intermediality, “La nouvelle sphère intermédiatique,” Musée d’art contemporain, Montreal, 1999. See André Gaudreault and Philippe Marion, “A Medium is Always Born Twice,” trans. Timothy Barnard, Early Popular Visual Culture 3 (May 2005): 3–15.

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See also, by the same authors, “Cinéma et généalogie des médias,” Médiamorphoses 16 (April 2006): 24-30.


Alexandre Arnoux, “J’ai vu, enfin, à Londres un film parlant.” Pour Vous 1 (November 22, 1928): 3.

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Readers interested in this question (to which we return in chapter 5 of The End of Cinema?) are invited to consult the book on the topic written by Arnoux some fifteen years later, Du muet au parlant: Souvenirs d’un témoin (Paris: La Nouvelle Édition, 1946). It should also be noted that in speaking this way about a “second birth” Arnoux had anticipated by about seventy years the concept of a “double birth” which the two authors of the present volume proposed for the first time in 1999. Note also that this is not the only foreshadowing of “our” concept we have found, after the fact, in our recent research. The identity crisis brought about by the advent of television was especially conducive to the development of such ideas, as we have found similar remarks in the work of at least two authors—and not minor authors either, as André Bazin is one of their number.


Victor Hugo wrote: “The one will kill the other. The book will kill the building.” The Hunchback of Notre Dame (New York: Courier Dover Publications, 2012 [1831]), 143.

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This is a comment made by the archdeacon Claude Frollo, re-used in part in the title of chapter 2 of volume 5 (“This will kill that”). The maxim symbolises the resigned fears of a man of the past (a nostalgic conservative, we might say today) in the face of a new mode of representation whose devastating intensity he foresaw: Gutenberg’s printing press and its ability to infinitely multiply messages would annihilate the cathedral, a unique and awe-inspiring space for reflection. Hugo added: “It was a presentiment that human thought, in changing its form, was about to change its mode of expression; that the dominant idea of each generation would no longer be written with the same matter, and in the same manner; that the book of stone, so solid and so durable, was about to make way for the book of paper, more solid and still more durable. In this connection the archdeacon’s vague formula had a second sense. It meant: ‘Printing will kill architecture.’”


Pierre Leprohon, Histoire du cinéma, vol. 1, Vie et mort du Cinématographe (1895–1930) (1961), 87. (Republished under the title Histoire du cinéma muet [Paris: Éditions d’Aujourd’hui, 1982].)


Leprohon wrote: “[t]he kinematograph [cinématographe]—by which I mean silent cinema.” Histoire du cinéma, 8.


Leprohon concludes his foreword with this remark: “The kinematograph is a dead language.” Ibid., 9.


André Gaudreault, “Les vues cinématographiques selon Georges Méliès, ou: comment Mitry et Sadoul avaient peut-être raison d’avoir tort (même si c’est surtout Deslandes qu’il faut lire et relire) . . . ,” in Georges Méliès, l’illusionniste fin de siècle? ed. Jacques Malthête and Michel Marie (1997), 115–16.

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