“The Supreme Laboratory Of The American Experiment”

One of America’s greatest documentary filmmakers takes on America’s greatest city: Ric Burns discusses his new PBS series, New York

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History And The Imagination

As three recent films show—one on the atomic bomb, one on women defense workers during the Second World War, one on the government arts projects of the thirties —this history of our times offers film makers arresting opportunities. Footage shot on the spot supplies a measure of raw actuality, and survivors are still available for interview. The real problem is to give abundant but diffuse materials a shape and structure. This is not, however, a problem that automatically solves itself. Read more »

History And The Imagination

The editors have invited me to write an occasional column on history as encountered in movies and on television. The assignment is welcome to one who has been irregularly a film critic as well as regularly a historian. But the job may not be so simple as it first appears. For the relationship between history and film takes a diversity of forms—from film as rendition of past history to film as material for future history. Read more »