In considering why it took so long for cinema to acquire sound it is important to compare between different historical periods. The slow-paced evolution of film sound (this was everything but a revolution) is not well known or documented in good measure because few people know just how diverse the environments for film screenings were during the first 30 years of cinema.
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Although Walter Benjamin is frequently cited in film studies scholarship, there is little consensus on what he really offers the discipline. Working with several PhD students, I have tracked citations of Walter Benjamin in two major film studies journals, Cinema Journal and Screen from 1990 to 2014.
The heightened presence of photography in the cinema since the 1960s along with the growth of video beginning in the 1970s has long made it necessary to understand the nature of the operations for moving between various kinds of images, on the level of both the fact of the movement and the analogy of the representation.
John MacKay's talk: Dziga Vertov and the Paradoxes of a Revolutionary Materialist Film Practice, March 28, 16h, MB 2,270