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Great Directors: Charles Chaplin

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When one views Kid Auto Races at Venice, a 1914 Keystone film that runs a scant six minutes, and sees the familiar image of Charlie Chaplin's little tramp enter the scene, it remains as galvanizing as it must have been for audiences of its own era who were seeing this image for the first time. Amidst the auto race festivities, where onlookers are enjoying the event, the little tramp waddles into the camera range of newsreel photographers. The newsreel director continually shoves him out of the way, but the tramp is undaunted. He continues to find ways to get himself on camera, obscuring the image of the event by walking in front of the lens and standing in various poses. It is a brilliant exercise in absurdist comedy and it effectively revolutionized the motion-picture industry.

About Senses of Cinema:

Senses of Cinema is an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema. We believe cinema is an art that can take many forms, from the industrially-produced blockbuster to the hand-crafted experimental work; we also aim to encourage awareness of the histories of such diverse forms. As an Australian-based journal, we have a special commitment to the regular, wide-ranging analysis and critique of Australian cinema, past and present. Senses of Cinema is primarily concerned with ideas about particular films or bodies of work, but also with the regimes (ideological, economic and so forth) under which films are produced and viewed, and with the more abstract theoretical and philosophical issues raised by film study.

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