Attempts to answer the question (often asked by historians): when does a film become a historical one? - are made by genological theory, derived from classical theory of literature and adapted by media theorists. In the genological media theory there are two model approaches to studies on film genres, which can be interpreted in terms of ideal types: (1) formal-structural and (2) pragmatic. The structural-formalist genre theory, in which genre is thought of as a comparatively stable structure of its constituent typical, formal elements, answers the question about how audiovisual communication becomes a historical film by asserting that this happens when it is a product of a specific kind of film - a fictional (feature) or documentary one - and it deals with a historical theme, which is a genre determinant of the historical film. The pragmatic theory of film genre, in which genre is defined as a cultural construct / social fact relativized each time a specific type of social consciousness, answers the question about how audiovisual communication becomes a historical film by stating that this happens when it is recognized as historical within a specific cultural context. The present analysis leads to the conclusion that discussion on the historicity of the historical film conducted in genological terms is an undertaking which does not offer satisfactory solutions in conceptualization of the historical film. This means that the answer to the question: when does a film becomes a historical one?, which is of interest to visual history, should be sought in a theoretical reference framework other than the filmological genological tradition.
Instytut Historii UMCS, Lublin
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