In working in media we owe an incredible burden to the past. None of us, not a single one, would be in this field without having stood upon the shoulders of giants. Be their names Ridley Scott, Robert Altman, Jim Henson, Walt Disney, Orson Welles, Howard Hawkes, or Georges Mielles; they have all contributed to the language of cinema and we would not be where we are without them.
Even the chapters we would rather forget have added to the language of media in terms of technique and craft. The propaganda works of Leni Riefenstahl, while deplorable, are historically significant for what she accomplished. D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, though sickeningly racist, dramatically pushed forward the art of film editing. We can hate their content, but we must acknowledge the technical achievement.
The need to remember this history of film bears a sad reality. Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation estimates that nearly 90% of films produced before 1929 have been lost to time. We may never recover them. Here is a list provided by Wikipedia
No point beyond this: we must preserve our past because it is stuff from which we build our future.
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.