L’istituzionalizzazione del cinematografo nei manuali Hoepli (1907-1923)
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Between 1907 and 1923 the Milan publishing house Hoepli, specialised in practical handbooks since the second half of the nineteenth century, published three manuals devoted to cinema. Through the analysis of these texts the article seeks to assess the historical evolution that led to the fully-fledged institutionalisation of cinema, in other words to its recognition as an independent medium capable of producing films considered as works of art in their own right. The first two handbooks, Il cinematografo e i suo accessori. Lanterna magica e apparecchi affini. Vocabolario delle proiezioni (1907) [Cinema and its accessories. The magic lantern and related apparatuses. Dictionary of projections] by Guglielmo Re and Le proiezioni fisse e cinematografiche (1911) [Fixed and cinematographic projections] by Luigi Sassi, presented motion pictures as still closely dependent on photography and regarded the cinematographic medium as having a primarily didactic function. In contrast, the text by Vittorio Mariani, Guida pratica della cinematografia [Practical guide of cinematography] (1916 and second revised and expanded edition 1923) was devoted exclusively to cinema, by now considered as a new industry that was well organised into the different stages of production, with precise professional figures and its own specific language. This series of characteristics, reiterated in the second edition of the manual together with an acknowledgement of the relations between cinema and art, demonstrate that by the middle of the first decade of the twentieth century the new medium had now become fully institutionalised in Italy.
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