A Digital Toolkit to Detect Cinema Audiences of the Silent Era: Scalable Perspectives on Film Exhibition and Consumption in Amsterdam Neighbourhoods (1907-1928)

Vincent Baptist*, Julia Noordegraaf, Thunnis Van Oort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In this article, we demonstrate and argue that one way to acquire a better sense of cinemagoing in the silent film era is to investigate the relations between cinema locations, the socio-economic and demographic profile of their surroundings, and film programming. Driven by the centrality of space as one of the defining traits of new cinema history, we operationalise this inquiry through a data-driven toolkit of interconnected scalable approaches, in order to establish a multilayered contextualisation of Amsterdam’s early cinema landscape. We analyse Amsterdam’s historical cinema market both on the meso level of the city’s overall surroundings and on the micro level of two neighbouring film venues within a specific urban district. By switching between different levels of scale to analyse the cinemas’ programming profiles, we highlight the venues’ positioning within the socio-spatial structure of the city and their neighbourhood community in particular. In the future, the multifaceted analytical exploration enabled by our digital toolkit can be further enhanced by an increased availability of more fine-grained archival and contextual data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-273
Number of pages22
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2021

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