Friday 14 October 2022

Russo-Japanese War Programme (1904) | BFI National Archive

 A series of battles in the Russo-Japanese War is presented as a visual spectacle.

This film has an unusual opening for documenting war: a group of soldiers release a balloon with two men in its basket. With their telescope, the men watch the battles far below. This framing device, partly filmed on a studio set, serves to present gruesome battles as entertaining spectacle. In some battles, the camera seems to accompany the Japanese troops, but as the distant view from the balloon in the opening sequence suggests, the film maintains an onlooker’s perspective. The waged from 1904 to 1905. Along with the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 expedited Japan’s colonial expansion in East Asia during the first half of the 20th century. Because of Japan’s consecutive victories in such modern warfare, many Japanese patriots fondly view the Meiji period as the nation’s age of confidence, having been encouraged by war films and historical dramas which provided a source for nationalism. (Kosuke Fujiki) Bryony Dixon, BFI curator of silent film adds: This is a compilation of films mostly relating to the Russo-Japanese War, using films by various companies: Urban, Warwick, Pathé, Gaumont and Alfred West. It was issued as a series under the title Événements Russo-Japonais by Pathé in 1904. Subscribe:

1 comment:

  1. The section involving the naval engagement was filmed by Alfred J West. In this sequence, the images in the film are laterally reversed from that in other collections. In one early frame, the Japanese ‘Rising Sun’ flag (which was inked into each frame) is replaced by the original White Ensign. The sequence is possibly filmed in Portsmouth Harbour.