Historical Potential of Newsreel and Its Interpretation

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What is a newsreel and how it relates to historical events? When watching the newsreel film footage, it is important to understand it and evaluate. It is necessary to have a specific pre-knowledge and pre-understanding of the subject. We have the right mind to correlate on-screen images with historical events. But newsreels never plays them fully, since they do not give a comprehensive picture of what have happened. Actually, newsreels are largely symbolic, and they also facilitate formation of historical memory. At the same time, to fully understand the historical newsreels one has to use the knowledge about the same events from other sources. When viewing pictures of the past, it’s vital to take into consideration the author's initial message predestinated for the according audience. This raises the question of the interpretation of the seen today, affected by certain mental filters of the actual audience. It especially tells on secondary use of historical newsreels today in a new documentary. Symbolism in newsreel arises through the symbolism of the ritual demonstrated on the screen. Does the ritualistic imagery bear any esthetical quality? There is a kind of duality: either we see a certain beauty of the ritual, or we look at what is happening only in the informational way. The novelty of the article is determined by its theoretical approach to understanding of the artistic and historical qualities of the newsreel, helpful for researchers and practitioners working in film archives.

Belyakov Victor K

Applicant, Film Studies, VGIK, Director of the Church-Scientific Centre’s Archival Fund “Orthodox Encyclopedia”.


Author for correspondence.
Email: Vic.belyakov@gmail.com


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Copyright (c) 2016 Belyakov V.K.

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