Cinematographic Ethnographic Chronicles Cover Image

Кинематографичен летопис. Сред първите филми, заснети в България, има и етнографски
Cinematographic Ethnographic Chronicles

Author(s): Peter Kardjilov
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: The first sequences were filmed in Bulgaria in October and November 1903 by Englishman Charles Rider Noble, dispatched to Bulgaria by film producer Charles Urban, an American citizen, the owner of a company seated in London at that time. The following year Noble revisited the country, again photographing “live pictures”. In this way the number of his “cinematogrammes” (as the Sofia press described the short documentary chronicle films of the Briton) grew to 38. Added to that celluloid output in the early spring of 1906 were a few more film reportages (at least a dozen), made in Bulgaria by the British traveler, journalist and writer Harry Willes Darell de Windt and the Scottish cameraman John Mackenzie who just like Noble had been sent on business to the Balkans by Charles Urban. In this way, over a period of two and a half years, a series of films were shot in Bulgaria, their quantity being fairly impressive for the time. It is to be regretted that this material has been irreversibly lost on the roads of time. The only piece of information, referring to its contents, had been preserved in the trade catalogues of Charles Urban Trading Company. It is from them that the present-day researchers of film making learn that quite a big share of the short films “made in Bulgaria” can be described with full justice as ethnographic (or at least made up of numerous ethnographic elements)! The short and scarce annotations, accompanying each title listed in the catalogues, give justice to such a claim. It becomes clear from these short texts that the films shot in Bulgaria were attempting to reflect the local customs, traditions, lifestyle, culture, and architecture; to depict by using light holiday rituals, performances of folk dances, accompanied by folk musical instruments, the fine points of some handicrafts, the use of tools, even the wear of the Bulgarians… To cover those realms of human activity and reason, making up the sphere, explored by the science of ethnography.

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 108-124
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Bulgarian