Shirerithian cinematography, the science of creating motion-pictures as practised within the Imperial Republic, commonly refers to the art, process, or job of filming movies. As such it forms an integral part of the empire's information and indoctrination apparatus.
The Imperial Government's Office of Information created an elaborate system of indoctrination, especially during the Sxiro-Jingdaoese Confrontation which made use of the maturing technologies of the 17th century, including cinema. Under the Dravot-Zinkgraven Stewardships the regime had courted the masses by the means of slogans that were aimed directly at the instincts and emotions of the people, especially with regards to stirring up an atavistic hatred of those inhuman forces which Nationalist-Humanism deemed an existential threat to the survival of humanity on Micras. The regime valued the cinema for its potential in disseminating essential messages concerning loyalty, sacrifice, and an aversion to chthonic corruption, to mass audiences at a memetic level by overt narrative messaging and subliminal techniques. The interest that Steward Liv Dravot and her successor Burgrave Zinkgraven took in the cinema was not only the result of a personal fascination. The use of film for propaganda had been planned by the Imperial Government as early as 1652, when the Crypteia first established a film department, and the Shirerithian closed-network intranet was designed from its inception to carry indoctrination and entertainment media.
Prior to the Auspicious Occasion (1651) the largest media enterprise in Shireroth had been the "Elwynnese Commons", a state backed collection of production studios and broadcasters backed by the Vanic monarchy in subjugated Elwynn via the quite preposterous resources funnelled into the Elwynns Konungurs Hirð, a body established solely for the purpose of aggrandising the royal cult around the person of King Noah.
Across a variety of genres, as diverse as to include horror films, noir-procedurals, and bawdy comedies about wretched foreigners, consistent themes emerge from Shirerithian movies namely:
- Consorting with the Other will always end badly;
- The Other is alien for a reason;
- Life is a remorseless and horrific struggle for survival, only solidarity with kin and obedience of authority can guarantee safety;
- Corruption is insidious;
- Justice is foreordained, remorseless, and unavoidable.
Film censorship is the responsibility of the Office of Information, although typically the censors tend to work collaboratively with the established film studios rather than in an adversarial manner, preferring to guide film projects towards ticking off the key themes favoured by the ruling powers of the Imperial Republic. Nonetheless, certification by the OI remains an essential step for securing a film's lucrative general release.
There remain three key points where the censors will intervene:
- Criticism of the Imperial Republic, the Imperial Forces, the Kaiser or Kalirion Dynasty;
- Glamorisation of heresy, including gnosticism, Vanic dogma, and the daemonic;
- Favourable or insufficiently critical portrayals of Jings, Pallisicans, and Bassarids.
Studios, distributors & persons of note
- Novasolum Studios, patrons: ESB Group
- Orbis Humanitatis, patrons: Nationalist & Humanist Party, House of Osman
- Silver Era Studios, patrons: the safir community in Shireroth, Reformists
- Lucile Blavatsky (Novasolum Studios), prodigious talent, addicted to prescription medications and lithe gymnasts;
- Tristam Havroc (Silver Era Studios), temperamental and stubborn perfectionist, cursed by a persecution complex;
- Mortis Herne (Novasolum Studios), pretentious churner of horror-flicks;
- Gorem Vidalis (Orbis Humanitatis Studios), notorious doyen of the cinematic scene, owns a casting-bed, a horribly racist snob even by Shirerithian standards.
- Cyril Clunge, prolific "military-fiction" writer, hired into the studio system after release from internal exile in the Shirerithian arctic.
Actors & actresses
It should be noted that the "big three" studios maintain a system whereby actors and actresses are bound to the studios under long term contracts. Accordingly the creative talent in Shireroth does not enjoy the same level of independence or big-name recognition enjoyed by "stars" of the cinema in other countries.
- Novasolum Studios
- Giles Drothak
- Victor Kern
- Viviene Maurice
- Orbis Humanitatis Studios
|Title||Director||Producer / Studio||Year of Release||Synopsis / Notes||Poster|
|The Deeds of Noah||Gorem Vidalis||Orbis Humanitatis Studios||1655||Rape, incest, murder, blasphemy, and terrible poetry abounds in this blood and mead soaked romp through the reign of Elwynn's first, last, and only, King.||.|
|A Lich Walks the Night Alone||.||.||1655||The last Lich in Malarboria exists in solitude, haunted by the destruction of the undying realms and sickened by the infestation of her ancestral lands by the living. Her only contact with the world of the revived humanity comes from luring drunken and lonely men back to her secluded den where she rips out and devours their hearts before dumping their corpses into the underground cesspit that serves as her "putrefact". Imperial exterminators and Malarboria's scarcely tolerated Coven of the Sun race against time and each other to catch the deathless creature before she kills again.||.|
|Corruption in the Flesh||.||.||1655||After a silly altercation with the local squire, the son of a publican in rural Ran runs away with an Octalune caravan to begin a new life in the west. As they cross out of Shireroth into the ungoverned lands it becomes apparent that they have joined a migration by all manner of uncanny creatures. The boy falls for the charms of a girl with cold hands and lizard eyes. Initiated into the Octalune "tribe" he is charged with only one rule that he must always obey - never enter the sealed wagon that leads their innumerable caravan. Tragedy ensues when the boy forgets this stricture.||.|
|Confessions of a Jing||.||.||1656||Screenplay based upon the interrogation transcript of a Shaowei (Lieutenant-Colonel) captured on the island of Diwangdao after a failed attempt at leading a suicide charge against the island's liberators during the War of Lost Brothers. The story follows the Jing through his childhood and young adulthood as the cumulative effects of a lifetime of corrupting propaganda strips away his humanity and leaves him a mere "biological-automation", unthinking and uncaring of the hopeless situation he subsequently found himself in defending an untenable position.||.|
|Redemption in Blood||.||.||1656||The story of Rakesh Ackbar and the struggle for control of Amarr's oil reserves in the early 1500s between the Brookshirian feudal magnates and the ambitious young Babkhi prospector.||.|
|Horrors in the Ice: Tales from Hyperborea & Llaeng||.||.||1656||Inspired by ancient travellers tales, thirteen short stories are given the celluloid treatment, each offering glimpses of an ancient evil that remains obscured from view amidst the ice and fog that swirls throughout the "lands of the pale ghosts".||.|
|Slap the Jing!||.||.||1656||A raucous celebration of ethnic stereotyping accompanied by jolly melodies.||.|
|Sanct Survival||.||.||1656||An Industrial Archaeology Survey Team from an unnamed corporation explores the sunken wreck of an old habitation dome. What they find turns their understanding of the old maritime freesteader community on its head, and begins hunting them down one by one.||.|
|Salvation in the Stars||Tristam Havroc||Silver Era Studios
Exec. producer Melira Arvin
|1656||Far in the future the survival of humanity depends upon a deal with the safir, but can they be trusted? An eclectic team of scientists, mathematicians, biologists and anthropologists are sent to find out. One of them however harbours a secret agenda that could imperil the mission, and the future of all life as we know it.
The film was novel for the extent of Sxiro-Safirian cooperation, with the director taking unusual pains to research the safir culture to establish verisimilitude. After approaching Melira Arvin, a safir formerly in Imperial service, to assist as a consultant, the safir community in Shireroth ended up being sufficiently intrigued in the project as to buy a stake in the studio.
The film production became notorious for the clash of wills between director Tristam Havroc and executive producer Melira Arvin, who objected vehemently to the film's infamous twist ending. Eventually, director's and producer's cuts were produced and submitted for audience testing. The director's cut is still available on the black market.
|The Abyss Below||.||.||1657||The mystery of what became of the Minarborian submarine fleet is resolved by an unsettling discovery in the depths of the Eastern Ocean. Natopian technology and Shirerithian firepower combine to fight against the rise of a seemingly unstoppable ancient evil.||.|
|Resist and Obey||.||.||1657||An adaptation of the famous page-turner by recently rehabilitated novelist Cyril Clunge, author of The Hunt for Green Harvestfall, Resist and Obey depicts a world in the near future where the MTO and USSO have combined to launch a surprise attack on the Imperial Republic. Aided by liberal and Ketherist traitors within the invaders succeed in fomenting a campaign of civil disobedience, delegitimising the Kalirion dynasty and paving the way for intervention by an assortment of foreign powers under the guise of a peacekeeping mission. Only a ragtag band of plucky teenagers from Oleslaad, led by a very-special ordinary girl and mentored by a drunken ex-tribune, continue to fight the good fight. Quite improbably they succeed in restoring feudalism across the entire continent by dint of a daring raid on Raynor's Keep. Go Walruses!||.|
|Splice: the Musical||.||.||1657||A lowly geneticist seeks to emulate the techniques of the Deep Singers, only to realise the extent of his mistake when he succeeds.||.|
|The Traitor||Lucile Blavatsky||Novasolum Studios||1658||An account of the myriad treacheries and deceptions of Flavian Ventaro, how his negligence occasioned the disgrace and disbandment of his legion, how his apprehension by agents of the divine law was thwarted by the intervention of a Diabolus ex Machina, and how the way of his descent to Balgurd was sealed by his taking sanctuary with the Kalgachi who castrated him and sold him to a Jingdaoese flight-engineer as a catamite. A warning for all traitors hereafter who might be tempted to evade justice by slipping beyond the bounds of the Imperial Republic.||.|
|Kaiser Ari: Bathe in Blood||.||.||1658||This Kaiser believed himself to be a dolphin and used to bathe in blood - a lot of blood. Not for the fainthearted or easily shocked||.|
|Barghest the Shuck||Mortis Herne||Novasolum Studios||1658||A daemonic dog terrorises the peasantry and burghers of Lichport. Law-abiding, gods-fearing, denizens and citizens alike are powerless to resist its relentless pursuit and all-devouring maw. Only a small band of investigators offers any hope of rescue from the dreadful curse that has fallen upon the land.|
|Automatthæus||.||.||1658||An ambitious engineer with a new vision for the optimal organisation of society comes unstuck when the roots of a forgotten peach tree clog the outflow of the drainage system, giving rise to a cascade of unforeseen catastrophes, and cumulatively imperilling the lofty utopia that was his life's work.||.|
|Where are My Pants?||.||Orbis Humanitatis Studios||1658||Thoroughly reprehensible "comedy" loosely based upon the antics and inane ramblings of the Shirerithian prophet Brrapa. Interpreted by some as an attack on Cedrism by adherents of the Holodomatic School. Limited release owing to condemnation by the established priesthood in Shirekeep.||.|
|Karalakh||Lucile Blavatsky||Novasolum Studios||1659||The first fully fledged "war film" produced by Novasolum Studios, "Karalakh" follows a troop of Horjin armoured vehicles as they crossed the frontier into the Minarborian enclave of Karalakh to liberate it's surviving human population from the spasming grasp of the Benacian Lichguards. Notable for lingering tracking shots of armoured vehicles moving through breathtaking scenery, interspersed with abrupt interludes of savage violence. Notable for one infamous scene depicting the destruction of a Horjin by an armour-piercing anti-tank round from the perspective of the crew trapped inside it's burning armoured hull.|
|When the Feeling's Gone||Gorem Vidallis||Orbis Humanitatis Studios||1659||A Bassarid pain-technician loses his spark of creativity leading to a quest to recover some semblance of professional pride by resorting to ever more extreme atrocities. Scenes of graphic violence and gore accompanied by an incongruously upbeat J-Pop soundtrack. Banned in Normark.|
|Gore of Froyalan||Gorem Vidalis||Orbis Humanitatis Studios||1660||A loose sequel to the 1655 film The Deeds of Noah, Gore of Froyalan follows Noah's sister, the lusty shieldmaiden Fjǫrleif Hallbjörnsdóttir, as she relentlessly pursues her unrequited lust for the future Kaiseress of Shireroth whilst cavorting and murdering her way across a ruined Amokolian landscape as the horrors of Froyalanish occupation are recounted in salacious detail.|
|Punch a Fattie in the Face||Larkin Kareion||Orbis Humanitatis Studios||1661||An uplifting and lighthearted musical with an important public health message. "Punch a Fattie in the Face" teaches children the importance of tormenting the morbidly obese to encourage self-improvement on the part of the afflicted for the betterment of society. Highlights include the now famous scene where all the low-class porkers of Shirekeep were herded together, stripped to their waists, scourged bloody by public executioners, and forced to run laps around the amphitheatre to the jeers and laughter of a baying mob. Rumoured to be part of a propaganda campaign shaping public opinion in the prelude to the introduction of a new taxation rate scaled to the body mass index.|
|Tendrils||Gorem Vidalis||Orbis Humanitatis Studios||1661||A new anthology of horror stories set in a vividly realised Kalgachi village that acts as a gateway to the chthonic underground world of the garden and detailing the horrors wrought upon it as a lunatic credent in the Abbey of Fort Candycane breaks the seven seals which separate the "Garden Ketheric" from the mortal realm. The film culminates in a clifftop struggle as an officer of the Directorate of Health and Public Welfare, remotely influenced by visions delivered from the Celestial sphere, seeks to prise the grimoire from the credent's hands before the daemonic tendrils under his command crack open the seventh seal located beneath the doomed village and usher in the destruction of the world.|
|The Musical Motorist||Johen Rinsly Brines||Ketek Ketshire Automotive Technologies||1662||A charming film telling the story of a young man from Ketgorod traveling to Ketsire in his trusty Ketek Scrag. Sing and dance along to delightfully upbeat musical numbers with Laqi-inspired choreography as our hero makes his way to a place he's only dreamed of. You'll fall in love with all the fun-loving fellas he comes across, each sharing their catchy tune about their classy Keteks.|