Film as History and History as Hyperreality
Representations of Antiquity in Film - From Griffith to Grindhouse - Kevin M. McGeough
Kevin M. McGeough [+]
University of Lethbridge
Kevin M. McGeough is professor of archaeology in the Department of Geography at the University of Lethbridge and holds a Board of Governor’s Research Chair in Archaeological Theory and Reception. Having excavated in Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and Canada, he is the co-editor of the Alberta Archaeological Review and chair of publications for the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR). He is currently researching the reception of Near Eastern Archaeology in a variety of media and has recently published a three-volume book on archaeological reception in the Victorian era, The Ancient Near East in the Nineteenth Century (2015).
The first chapter offers a brief survey of thinking on how movies can work as attempts at telling history, focussing on the major debates that have emerged since the 1990s. It introduces debates surrounding the archaeological authenticity of these films (and the rhetorical strategy surrounding “realism”). Another major theme brought up here is how the ancient world is used as a film setting for making arguments about the present. The last two sections address the topics of material culture in film (of particular interest to archaeologists and anthropologists) and the appeal of hyperreal representations to popular audiences.