Martor No. 20 / Year 2015

Children Addressing the Camera. Performing Childhood in Transylvanian Home Movies from the 1930s

Author: Melinda Blos-Jáni

About the author:

Melinda Blos-Jáni
Lecturer at the Department of Film, Photography and Media, Sapientia University, Cluj-Napoca
E-mail: blosmelinda at gmail dot com

Pages: 109-121

Keywords: home movie, childhood, direct address, corporeality, immediacy, performance, mediality, intermediality, figuration

Ever since the emergence of the first technologies destined for amateur filmmakers, the most frequently recorded portraits in home movies have been children’s. This article analyses the characteristics of children’s portraiture in home movies, with special attention to their on-camera performance. Home movies can be seen as records of children’s bodily interaction with the filmic apparatus and, at the same time, with the media literacy of their filmmaker-parents. The everyday scenes of children performing awareness or non-awareness in front of the camera are dissected in this paper from a media-historical point of view: the analysis of a Transylvanian home movie collection is embedded in a discourse on media practices, on mediality and on processes that transform everyday reality into a corporeal image. The idiosyncrasies of the first Transylvanian home movies are incorporated in a discussion about early 20th century visual culture, in the context of which childhood gets to be constructed as an amateur moving image.

How to cite this article:

Blos-Jáni, Melinda. 2015. “Children Addressing the Camera. Performing Childhood in Transylvanian Home Movies from the 1930s.” Martor 20: 109-121.

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