Beja Margitházi

E-mail address:
Home institution:
Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Academic position: Adjunct Professor
Areas of research: Formal history of film, classical film theory the history of early film, multidisciplinary research possibilities of visual communication
Title of the presentation: ?Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows?”
The Role of the Body and the Senses in the Different ?First Contact? Narratives.?


Most important Publications

  • The Cinema of the Face. Close-up and Film Style (Az arc mozija. Közelkép és filmstílus. Koinónia, Cluj, 2008) deals with historical and theoretical problems of the face close-up in film.
  • The reader co-edited by her on Visual Communication was published in 2010 (with Ágnes Blaskó: Vizuális kommunikáció. Szöveggyűjtemény. Budapest, Typotex).

Title of the presentation

?Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows??
The Role of the Body and the Senses in the Different ?First Contact? Narratives.


Almost all of us have a special story about our first visit to cinema, but the value of the first descriptions about the early audience?s collective or individual responses to moving images at the turn of the century is priceless. Whether they are refuted myths (see ?train effect?), late interpretations (like ?astonishment?, ?stupefying effect? by Tom Gunning), or subjective, first-person reports (like Maxim Gorky?s), these ?first contact? narratives record the rare moments of first encounters with a new media. What is the role of the senses here in shaping perception and reaction? What is expressed by the difference of individual and collective responses? How can we synchronize these impressions with the observations of the early film theory? My paper intends to examine these early movie-going experiences with a special focus on the occurrence of the senses and the interpretation of the different body reactions described in them.

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