The article describes the process of the creation and professionalization of 'early cinema' as a sub-discipline of film studies. The author describes theoretical paradigms according to the classification proposed by David Bordwell: 'theory of great men', 'basic story', 'standard version' and a popular in the 1970s revisionist history of film. The author also describes most recent theories, methods and areas of interest of early cinema specialists, such as non-fictional film, the idea of 'cinema of attraction' or wider issues in visual popular culture.
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