The historical film emerged as a strong genre form very early in cinema history and has renewed itself many times over the course of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Although the world of the past is its subject, the genre is often in the vanguard in terms of visual style and cinematic technique. The dramatic, compelling portraits of the past that are brought to life in the historical film have made it one of the most prestigious as well as one of the most controversial genres in film. It provides both a lens onto the past, which it frequently recreates with exquisite attention to detail and period style, while also reflecting the cultural sensibility of the period in which it was made. Above all, the historical film provides an emotional connection to history in a way that foregrounds the power and importance of the past in shaping the cultural imaginary in the present.
see also Biography; Epic Films; Genre; Melodrama; Vietnam War; War Films; World War I; World War II
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