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Chapter 21 - Ancient Egypt in the Cinema

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2021

Andrew Bednarski
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Aidan Dodson
Affiliation:
University of Bristol
Salima Ikram
Affiliation:
American University in Cairo
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Summary

In a fascinating 1992 essay, Antonia Lant revisited the longstanding theoretical link between early silent films and Egyptian funeral paraphernalia. She writes that in the early twentieth century, blackened cinematic enclosures, built in the ‘Egyptian’ architectural style, were often associated with dark Egyptian tombs. Neon signs would entice the audience with their promise of a mysterious experience inside the auditorium. The cinema was also viewed as a necropolis where a silent dead world came to life on the silver screen and spoke through a pictorial language – a sort of hieroglyphic communication revealed by the light of the projector.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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