Correction, Please: or, How We Got into the Pictures
(Noel Burch, 1979, British Arts Council [TV])
I’ve talked about this film elsewhere, but I’m pleased to note that this half-forgotten Noel Burch film about early cinema does have a video distributor, Concord Video in the UK (they’re the distribution arm of the British Arts Council, who produced Correction, Please). Last I checked, 120 pounds sterling can get you an NTSC conversion VHS copy for your institution (75 pounds for PAL). The website, meanwhile, lists DVD copies (PAL) available. Given the exchange rate, that's not cheap for American purchasers, but it's a title worth owning.
Made in 1979, Correction, Please is really two things at once. Part of it is a pedagogical film, illustrating the changes that film underwent in the transition from early to classical cinema. My favorite part are the five recreations that mimic, loosely, discrete moments in film history:
Griffith Biograph one-reeler, c. 1909
Transitional Hollywood film, with errors, c. 1915 (not pictured below)
Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (Lang, 1925)
Mature silent classical Hollywood, late 1920s
At the same time, Burch’s film belongs to a lineage of experimental works of the 1960s and 1970s which used early and pre- cinema as inspiration for counter cinema practice. Like Thom Anderson’s Edward Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (which also deserves a write up here at Not on DVD), Correction Please reflects on cinemagoing, though where Anderson’s film is about the perceptual quality of film viewing, Correction is about the narrational dimension of spectatorship.
“How we got into the pictures” is meant figuratively and more literally.