Wolfgang Fuhrmann is one of the few scholars to grapple with the scattered and ephemeral sources of early colonial cinematography. In his long-awaited book he uses these sources to good effect, expanding our understanding of both colonial visual culture and the beginnings of film culture in Germany. Put briefly, he argues that we cannot fully understand one without the other, that imperial networks and ideology shaped early film practices and that the aesthetics and conventions of early film shaped how Germans perceived the wider world. Fuhrmann paints a picture of a chaotic and creative environment, full of intriguing men who developed new filming techniques on the fly and invented new ways to frame Germany’s colonial project for a patriotic public hungry for exoticism and adventure. These men, who made their films...

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