Maria Wyke, antiquity in silent cinema

Arts 305, CAHA Museum
Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research
Wednesday 12th February 2014 (17:15-19:00)
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B-Film are pleased to announce that Prof. Maria Wyke of UCL will deliver this week’s Classics, Ancient History, and Archaeology Research Seminar on the subject of ‘Antiquity in Silent Cinema’. The seminar will take place in the CAHA Museum, Arts 305, at 1715; all welcome.

In the first four decades of cinema, more than a thousand films were made across Europe and North America that drew their inspiration from antiquity. The films in question suggest a commonality of actors, directors, studios, modes of representation, and ideological play as well as a preoccupation with the ancient world that competes with and supersedes that of Hollywood’s classical era. More than 400 of the films survive in archival collections across the world, alongside production stills, screenplays and other ephemera. This talk concerns that rich body of material. It explores how cinema provided a pathway for antiquity to enter modernity and how antiquity provided a platform on which early cinema could build much of its claim to cultural value and play out for its spectators in extremis issues of nationalism, religion, gender and sexuality.

Maria Wyke is Professor of Latin at UCL, Co-director of the Centre for Research into the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC) and Deputy Director of the Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Programmes (CHIRP). She has published a number of books on the relationship between classics and cinema including Projecting the Past: Ancient Rome, Cinema and History (Routledge, 1997) and, most recently, the co-edited collection Antiquity in Silent Cinema (CUP, 2013).