In the years of silent film, what we now call a documentary often only comprised views, sequences of observational pictures. They were fascinating pictures, because they look as if the camera, that new machine, was rediscovering the world with breathless admiration.This effect of loving reverence is especially evoked because the camera consistently keeps its distance. These are pictures from a period of cinema when it was still apparently possible just to look. For those of us who only know the moralising, interventional camera, the pictures made by early cameras are also a shock: if only we too could look at the world so innocently! But, as so often in the world of media, a paradox is lying in wait. The machine of the infatuated caress can suddenly, without changing position, become a gruesome, disinterested and insensitive machine. Because, just as the camera attentively watch as waves break on a rock, it also sees giant snakes appear and eat rabbits, skin and all. Cheerful little lambs in a meadow in the Alps are observed in the same way as the circus battle between a dozy tiger and a furious bull. And the handy movements of the basket-maker are recorded just as meticulously as the forced and humiliating exhibition of the Jingé people in Central Africa. Then the sublime amazement of the infatuated camera suddenly becomes indifferent and unaffected.îThe stunning simplicity of the pictures in this programme does not make them particularly cruel in what they show, but in how they show it. A Cruel Machine - is that not exactly what the programme section should be about?Programme1. Dierenleed/Animal sufferingCapture d'oursons blancs dans les glaces de l'océan (France, 1910, 5 min.)Fütterung von Riesenschlangen (Germany, 1911, 3 min.)Le Dytique (France, 1912, 7 min.)Een strijd tusschen wilde dieren (United States, 1912, 4 min.)Zigotto als toreador (Jean Durand, France, 1912, 5 min.)2. De etnografische blik/The ethnographic lookLes mystères du continent noir (Frankrijk, 1926, Mission Gradis-Delingette au Tchad, 61 min.

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