Griffithiana: a silent film and classic animation journal

Former University Library staff member Glynne Parker died in October 2011, and after his death his wonderful collection of printed matter and ephemera on film was presented to the Library. At the time of writing, about 50% of the 2800 items have been catalogued. The general collection will feature in a future blog post, but some material is particularly worthy of mention.

Griffithiana_anno_1

First issue of Griffithiana, 1978.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is probably one of the lesser known Italian regions, but its position as one of Italy’s “most cinematic” regions attracts cinema lovers and experts from all over the world. It is home to seven major international film festivals (see list below) and to the Cineteca Nazionale del Friuli which, amongst other ventures -like film conservation-, published Griffithiana, a biannual journal named after D.W. Griffith, with articles and monographic issues related to the study of silent cinema and classic animation.

In the introduction to the first issue, Davide Turconi, the periodical’s director, stated that the intention of the publication was to draw attention to documents, details, people and facts of “old cinema” in order to trigger the desire for further analysis and discussion. The expertise presented in the articles and a growing international interest in the topics covered, led to the decision, in 1988, to publish it as an Italian/English bilingual journal.

Cambridge University Library holds a complete set of Griffithiana, running from number 1 (1978) to number 74 (2003) and part of the A.G. Parker Film History Collection. Many of its issues are tied in with “Le Giornate del Cinema Muto” of Pordenone, the world’s most important festival on silent film, and the subjects covered range from directors of early Westerns such as Thomas Ince (classmark CCA.56.2010) to exhibition catalogues on the masterpieces of animation (classmark CCA.56.2023). Other topics include Felix the Cat, Emile Cohl, comic Italian silent film, film libraries, film companies, etc. It features reviews, bibliographies and articles by film scholars, film curators, archivists and historians. You can see the contents of each issue here.

Even though Griffithiana is not published any longer, much of its content was merged into the catalogues of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival. You can visit the festival’s website and browse all its issues by year (click here – left-hand menu) or you can do an advanced search for single film title, director, cast, year or country (click here).

Clara Panozzo

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Film festivals in Friuli-Venezia Giulia:

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