Author – Peter Kardjilov
Publisher – Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Lady Stephenson Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2PA, UK
Translated from Bulgarian – Ivelina Petrova
Year – 2020
ISBN (10): 1-5275-4902-X
ISBN (13): 978-1-5275-4902-9
Size – A5 (hardback)
Pages – 434
Price – £70.99
Illustrations – 258 (including 220 photographs, 130 facsimiles, 30 drawings, 1 card)
Notes: British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Book’s description in one sentence: Spreading an unfamiliar till now page of world cinema history.
Book blurb: In the early 20th century, the American film producer, Charles Urban (1867–1942), who had founded his company in London, sent out two of his camera operators to the Balkans. The Englishman, Charles Rider Noble (1854–1914), recreated moments from the uprising that had broken out in Macedonia (part of Turkey at that time) and filmed all over Bulgaria; the Scot, John Mackenzie (1861–1944), travelled through Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania… Thus, thanks to the two Britons, the first sequences of „living pictures” were filmed in the peninsula from 1903 to 1905. It is this under-researched period, when the history of Balkan cinema started, that Peter Kardjilov, D.Sc. has dealt with in his book. It has been examined in depth, diligently and in detail – in the first volume alone more than 570 sources of information are cited (newspaper reports, film catalogues, and archives)… In spite of that, the book is entertaining and is read in one go – like a crime novel. The unique scientific work is intended for film historians, early cinema researchers, film and TV archive experts, college and university lecturers and students. It is for everyone, irrespective of their age, who loves the „Seventh Art” and adores the secrets its early history still holds.
Short descriptive abstract: The book is a documentary reconstruction, covering an early and relatively poorly researched period in the history of world cinema. It is the result of in-depth, detailed and long-term research. Through the skilful use of historical sources and the rich factual material found by the author in periodical and specialized press, trading film catalogues, archival documents, administrative protocols and memoirs, it follows (step by step) the path of the two British cinematographers, Charles Noble and John Mackenzie, in Bulgaria during the period 1903–1905; the fate of the short movies („cinematograms”) they filmed, originally shown in London (Alhambra Hall and The Club of the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge), and subsequently in Western Europe, the United States and Bulgaria; the press reviews (comments) for those films reflecting the attitude of society towards them… Last but not least, the book reveals the symbiosis between the film production of the developed Western European states and the film distribution in the Balkan countries, the influence of British cinema industry on the later emergence and development of national film production in East Europe.
Author’s short biography: Peter Ivanov Kardjilov is a long-time film researcher, film historian, journalist and writer (his sci-fi short stories have been translated into French, German, Russian and Hungarian). He is a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) and an associated member of the Institute of Art Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia. He has written 3,000 articles, 115 scientific publications (some of which have been translated into English – in the USA, Chinese, Serbian, Romanian and Macedonian), and 22 books. Ten of the author’s works define his research interests, which include the history of early cinema in both Bulgaria and the Balkans. In his books, Peter Kardjilov addresses the following topics: „the arrival of cinema in Bulgaria” (1896) – the earliest film screenings there; foreign cameramen shooting the first „living pictures” in that country (1896); the appearance of first permanent cinemas (1908); the production of the first Bulgarian films – actuality (1909) and fiction (1914); filming in the Balkan Peninsula during the two Balkan wars (1912–1913) and the First World War (1914–1918)…