European Cinemas in the Television Age

European Cinemas in the Television Age

Dorota Ostrowska
Graham Roberts
Gunhild Agger
Valeria Camporesi
Luisa Cigognetti
Will Lehman
Magrit Grieb
Malgorzata Radkiewicz
Pierre Sorlin
Heather Wallis
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r2731
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  • Book Info
    European Cinemas in the Television Age
    Book Description:

    This is a radical attempt to rethink the post-war history of European cinemas. The authors approach the subject from the perspective of television’s impact on the culture of cinema’s production, distribution, consumption and reception. Thus they indicate a new direction for the debate about the future of cinema in Europe.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-2994-7
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Graham Roberts and Dorota Ostrowska
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. 1. INTRODUCTION: A CULTURAL ECOLOGY OF FILM AND TELEVISION IN EUROPE
    (pp. 1-5)

    As Groucho Marx once put it: ‘I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set I go into the other room and read a book’ or to (misquote) another famous Marx . . . ‘A spectre is haunting European cinema(s) – the spectre of Television.’

    Perhaps television has been haunting cinema from day one. There exists a brochure by the Portuguese Professor Adriano de Paiva entitled La téléscopie électrique basée sur l’emploi du sélénium published in Porto in 1880. Laurent Semat deposited a ‘brevet’ (FR 321.876) for ‘un téléphote’ (un appareil permettant la transmission à distance des...

  7. 2. BRITAIN: MEET MR LUCIFER: BRITISH CINEMA UNDER THE SPELL OF TV
    (pp. 6-24)
    Graham Roberts and Heather Wallis

    On 22 August 1932 the British Broadcasting Corporation began low-definition television broadcasts using Baird mechanical equipment while encouraging Electrical and Musical Industries (EMI) to develop electric TV. British broadcast TV had a stuttering start with less than 300 sets using the Baird or Marconi-EMI system. Until 1937 TV reception was only available in London area. The medium was struggling without a reason for audiences to watch. That reason was supplied by an event of national interest – the Coronation of King George VI in May 1937. However, the new medium’s faltering steps towards a national profile were dealt a blow...

  8. 3. FRANCE: CINEMATIC TELEVISION OR TELEVISUAL CINEMA: INA AND CANAL+
    (pp. 25-40)
    Dorota Ostrowska

    The decision of the French government to launch a new public channel ‘La Sept’ committed to the promotion of ‘film as culture’ when the privatised French television channels and a newly established Canal+ were becoming the biggest film producers in France shows that it was cinéma d’auteur which was particularly privileged in the French audio-visual context. This type of cinema has enjoyed a continuous support of the policy-makers and that of public funders even at the time when the number of TV channels was increasing, stepping up the demand for TV fiction and drama, and when the notions of high...

  9. 4. ITALY: CINEMA AND TELEVISION: COLLABORATORS AND THREAT
    (pp. 41-54)
    Luisa Cigognetti and Pierre Sorlin

    For a long time television was blamed for weakening the Italian cinema and reducing it to a very limited part in public entertainment. According to an Order in Council of 1947 radio and later television broadcasting was a State service entrusted to a public company submitted to parliamentary control (Monteleone 1992). When the RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana) began its television broadcasting, on 3 January 1954, the Italian cinema was in its heyday. Many assumed, at the time, that once they would be offered pictures at home, people would have no reason to go out, so that cinema attendance would soon decline....

  10. 5. SPAIN: BIPOLAR VISIONS, UNIFIED REALITIES: A GENERAL OVERVIEW
    (pp. 55-70)
    Valeria Camporesi

    Almost everybody in Spain knows that one of the best known arty Spanish films, El sol del membrillo (The Sun of the Quince Tree, 1992), was originally conceived within a project that its director, Victor Erice, had been charged with by Televisión Española as had his previous, unfinished film, El sur (1983), whose filming was declared complete by its producer, Elias Querejeta, against Erice’s will (Heredero 1997: 844–6). It ended up as an extremely cheap, totally independent production which gained international acclaim within a small élite of cinéphiles and intellectuals which seems so far apart from the very idea...

  11. 6. GERMANY: SCREEN WARS: GERMAN NATIONAL CINEMA IN THE AGE OF TELEVISION
    (pp. 71-86)
    Margit Grieb and Will Lehman

    In 1935, the city of Berlin and the National Socialist government of Germany officially inaugurated a new era in visual technology with the broadcast of its first television programme with the purpose of ‘plant[ing] the image of the Fuhrer indelibly in all German hearts’ (Reich director of broadcasting Eugen Hadamovsky, quoted in Uricchio 1996). Television, the technology and the institution, were already in development in the 1920s, before the National Socialists came to power. However, in 1933 the Reich’s Ministry for Enlightenment of the People and Propaganda (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda) was officially put in charge of its development...

  12. 7. DENMARK: THE ELEMENT OF CHILDHOOD FROM CHILDREN’S TELEVISION TO DOGME 95
    (pp. 87-106)
    Dorota Ostrowska and Gunhild Agger

    The former military barracks in the suburbs of Copenhagen, Avedøre, are home to not only Lars von Trier’s film company Zentropa, but also to the Film School for Children and Youth: ‘Station Next’. The old fencing hall for soldiers is a greenhouse for young film-makers housing professional editing suites, studios and decoration sets. It is a place for children to learn about visual media, to become aware of the complexity of the film-making process and production and a way to gain some professional training. They are learning the craft of film-making at daily courses and summer camps run by film...

  13. 8. POLAND: COSTUME DRAMAS: CINE-TELEVISUAL ALLIANCES IN THE SOCIALIST AND POST-SOCIALIST POLAND
    (pp. 107-124)
    Dorota Ostrowska and Małgorzata Radkiewicz

    In the 1960s across Europe and the United States the production of large-scale, spectacular and costly historical blockbusters was seen as an expression of the battle between silver and small screen in which cinema was trying to attract the spectators with the spectacle they would not be able to see on their television screens. Cinema was to overwhelm and to become a true assault at the senses. In the socialist bloc countries such as Poland the same period was marked by quite a different development; instead of competition there was a deep synergy between the two media regarding production and...

  14. 9. AUDIO-VISUAL PRODUCTION CULTURES: CONVERGENCE AND RESISTANCE
    (pp. 125-143)

    ‘Cinema’ (writing in movement) can be seen as the result of a history of technological developments aimed at capturing visual reality – or the appearance of such (verisimilitude). Developments within the audio-visual arts and industries, including the introduction of sound and colour, can be seen in the same terms. All the historical developments involving cinema have to be seen in their economic context. To put it bluntly – somebody (person or institution) has to take the risk and pay for the expensive processes of technological development and bear the costs of the actual production and distribution. The history of cinema...

  15. 10. KINESTHETICS: CINEMATIC FORMS IN THE AGE OF TELEVISION
    (pp. 144-158)

    Where can we identify the fault line between cinema and television in Europe in the last half century? Is there even such a thing? In absolute terms (as seen in every national chapter of this book) we cannot even point to economic barriers as the dividing line. Instead of separation between the two mediums we should perhaps talk about connectivity through at most a very porous barrier indeed. The question of who benefits from this permeable membrane (and how) is carried throughout this volume. The osmotic relationship between the two mediums is problematic and not easy to reduce to simple...

  16. 11. REPRODUCTION: RE-CREATION OF CINEMA VIA THE DOMESTIC SCREEN
    (pp. 159-172)

    For most of its parts this book proposes a revisionist account of the history of the cinema–television relationship. Television has been presented as new means of funding and distributing cinema. In reality it has also done a great deal to change our way of thinking about cinema but this transformation was usually coded in catastrophic terms or simply ignored for the sake of saving and preserving what was believed to be the true value of cinema. Throughout much of its history television has been treated by cultural critics (and the film studies academy) as at best an unwanted growth...

  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 173-185)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 186-196)