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Open Access The Emergence of a Modern Audience for Cinema in Colonial Java

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The Emergence of a Modern Audience for Cinema in Colonial Java

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image of Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia

This article examines the emergence of a modern audience for early cinema in colonial Java at the beginning of the twentieth century. As a visual medium combined with musical accompaniment, moving pictures were suitable for a wide range of audiences. The melange of cinema-goers studied here reflects the plurality of dialects, ethnicities, and social classes in colonial society. This article explores what brought audiences on Java to spend their leisure time at the cinema, the films they watched, and how the spatial separation between different classes of audience members was arranged, upheld, and, at times, transgressed at the various venues that exhibited moving pictures. Finally, it argues that going to the cinema provided audiences with an education in modern things, whether in the content of films representing modernization, progress, industry, and urbanization, or in the form of encountering the technology itself and of patronizing the increasingly modern venues that housed them.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON), Utrecht University D.Ruppin@uu.nl

10.1163/22134379-17304014
/content/journals/10.1163/22134379-17304014
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This article examines the emergence of a modern audience for early cinema in colonial Java at the beginning of the twentieth century. As a visual medium combined with musical accompaniment, moving pictures were suitable for a wide range of audiences. The melange of cinema-goers studied here reflects the plurality of dialects, ethnicities, and social classes in colonial society. This article explores what brought audiences on Java to spend their leisure time at the cinema, the films they watched, and how the spatial separation between different classes of audience members was arranged, upheld, and, at times, transgressed at the various venues that exhibited moving pictures. Finally, it argues that going to the cinema provided audiences with an education in modern things, whether in the content of films representing modernization, progress, industry, and urbanization, or in the form of encountering the technology itself and of patronizing the increasingly modern venues that housed them.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134379-17304014
2017-01-01
2018-09-24

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