By Alix Norman
If there’s one quote that we know today, is utterly, completely off the mark, it’s that infamous statement from the Lumiere brothers regarding their own, much-lauded, creation… “Cinema,” they said – shortly after coming up with the first ‘cinematograph’ in history – “is an invention with no future.”
How wrong they were. These days, there are few among us who haven’t ever seen a movie, visited the cinema, been enthralled by the glamour of the silver screen. As one of the biggest industries globally, film is as captivating to us today as it was when, back in the late 1800s, the brothers came up with the technology to capture and project moving pictures. And it’s this truly gripping chronological journey that is to be the subject of Doros Demetriou’s upcoming series of lectures, entitled History of Film.
An expert in his subject, Doros is a mine of information and anecdotes whose 14-lecture series will no doubt prove as intriguing to the layman as to the specialist. From the very beginnings of film (The Birth of Cinema) to the massive changes that have altered the face of the industry (The Coming of Sound, The Age of Electronic Media), the seminars will chart the progress of cinema through the years.
A freelance teacher whose subject is the same as that of his seminar series, Doros has a real passion for film. “I always felt that people – well, most of us,” he smiles in a self-deprecating manner, “like to watch cinema. And I feel that people want to know more about this, to learn a bit more about what they’re watching, where cinema comes from and who made cinema what it is today.”
He’s undoubtedly right: the same lecture series has previously run in Greek to great acclaim. “History – especially of the 20th century – and art are two of my great interests, and I feel that cinema is one of the places in which they meet in a very dynamic way. And I think that this idea appeals to everybody, along with the story of cinema – the lives of the directors and actors, and the films themselves.”
With his vast knowledge and technical expertise (his background is in tech and IT), Doros is able to make the world of film come to life for his audiences, accompanying each lecture with a variety of clips and a host of absorbing anecdotes: “One of the better known stories involves how Charlie Chaplin resisted sound for years after ‘talkies’ came about. He kept making silent films until 1939, but then, in The Great Dictator, he gives one of the greatest speeches in the history of film, all about world peace, technology and war…”
Then there’s the story of Le Prince, a young Gallic gentleman who may possibly have pre-dated the Lumieres in his invention of cinematic equipment. “There’s considerable proof that, almost 10 years before the brothers unveiled their cinematograph, Le Prince had a working movie camera and the ability to project the pictures onto a screen,” says Doros. “But then, as he was on his way to patent his equipment, he disappeared off the face of the earth, never to be seen – or heard from – again…”
It’s such anecdotes that bring Doros’ lectures to life, along with his innate understanding of what the audience will find most intriguing. “We’ll be showing over 200 clips from different films to illustrate the seminars,” he says, “as well as a great number of slides.” All the lecture notes will be emailed to the audience after the event, and there’s even the chance to participate oneself, with the odd spot of ‘homework’ for those so inclined, which involves creating – and showcasing – one’s own clip.
Delivered on the premises of the Politistiko Ergastiri in Ayios Omologites (a converted traditional house, which is well worth a visit even without the benefit of the absorbing lecture series), the seminars will take place every Wednesday between October 8 and January 28, excluding holiday season. A must-see for any film buff or budding cinematographer, the presentations are also designed to cater to those with no specialist knowledge of the subject. So, whether you’re an expert or a layman, snap up your chance to see what promises to be an intriguing, amusing and informative take on the History of Film.
The History of Film
Seminars presented by Doros Demetriou at the Politistiko Ergastiri in Ayios Omologites, Nicosia from 7-9pm every Wednesday between October 8 and January 28, 2015. €7 for members / €10 for non-members, or all 14 seminars cost €90 for members / €120 for non-members. For further details, visit www.politistiko-ergastiri.org, [email protected] or call 22 256782