Cinema Cultures of Integration: Film Distribution and Exhibition in the GDR and Czechoslovakia from the Perspective of Two Local Cases, 1945-1960



Rok publikování 2015
Druh Kapitola v knize
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis In Czechoslovakia as in the GDR, state authorities set out to create a distinctive socialist film culture. Going to the movies was meant to be more than a form of entertainment: officials sought to shape viewers' hearts and minds by selecting, distributing and screening particular kinds of films. To this end, state officials engaged in many practices of exclusion. They banned or censored countless films, especially those from the capitalist West. They imposed strict limits on cinematic production, dictating the topics that films could address as well as the people who could make them. Though exclusion remained a constant of socialist film culture, we argue that cinema going also produced the opposite effect. Above all, state authorities viewed cinemas as a tool of social inclusion, capable of spreading shared values and emotions. Mass screenings in schools and factories were meant to promote a sense of collective identity. Special showings during holidays or festivals aimed to foster citizens' identification with official values. We argue that integration remained a key aspect of socialist film culture in the late 1950s and beyond. Screenings of Western productions or popular prewar movies served to establish a kind of social contract between state and society. They were meant to garner loyalty from the intelligentsia, to revive solidarity in moments of crisis and to ensure political participation in elections. Cinemas did in fact achieve considerable success on these counts – throughout the period under study, they were by far the most popular cultural form in Leipzig and Brno. By looking at the operation of cinemas at the city level, we have tried to identify essential commonalities between their roles in two socialist states. Foremost among these commonalities, we argue, was that cinemas served as sites of social integration.
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