Room 101

Look out on British TV for the comedy programme Room 101 on Friday 9 February at 22.00. The guest is Private Eye editor Ian Hislop nominating his pet hates for consigning to Room 101, and they include Charlie Chaplin. The doyen of silent film pianists, Neil Brand, will be accompanying a Chaplin clip with the hope of saving Chaplin’s reputation. the programme is hosted by silent film comedy enthusiast Paul Merton, who will hopefully put up some form of defence. We’ll have to see.

Crazy Cinématographe

Travelling Cinema – Crazy Cinématographe – a prestigious European Project

In 2007, Luxembourg will be European Capital of Culture. As part of a series of events celebrating our shared European culture, the Cinémathèque Luxembourg will be exhibiting a travelling cinema show at five major fairs in Luxembourg and the Greater Region: Luxembourg, Trier (Germany), Saarbrücken (Germany), Thionville (France) and Liège (Belgium)

This early cinema show (publicity title: «Crazy Cinématographe») will be a touring spectacle celebrating the films produced in Europe during the first decade of the twentieth century. The films will be projected in a purpose built tent completed with a cast of performers animating and advertising the shows in the tradition of the pioneering days of the fairground cinématographes. The show will celebrate the work of the European film archives by producing a prestigious and entertaining showcase for those little known wonders only known to archivists, historians and festival goers, but not to the general public.

Call for contributions from European Film Archives

Every archive has wondrous treasures from the early 1900s. In order to help your selection, we ask that each archive proposes a list of titles from their collection adequate to the general spirit of the project, with a special focus on the program sections mentioned below. The proposed titles should date from the period 1895 to 1914 and consist of films between 1 to 5 minutes in duration.

Program sections (provisional titles)

1. Comedy and burlesque: slapstick, performance titles or acts

2. Cabinet of the bizarre: freak shows, exotic bodies, weird animals

3. Magical Mystery Tour: fairyland films (French: «féeries»), fantastic
films, science-fiction, etc.

4. The sexual life of Grandma and Grandpa: erotics soft (striptease, etc.) and erotics hard (pornography).

5. Local films for Local People: views of Luxembourg and the Greater Region, especially from Trier, Saarbrücken, Thionville and Liège.

6. General show: any thrilling material that does not fall into the above subjects or is a particular favourite of the Archive

Anyone requiring further information on the project, please contact Dr Vanessa Toulmin of the National Fairground Archive or Nicole Dahlen from the Cinémathèque Luxembourg.

Travelling Cinema in Europe


International Conference – Travelling Cinema in Europe

Under the auspices of Luxembourg and Greater Region European Capital of Culture, 2007. Hosted by Cinémathèque Municipale de Luxembourg and Trier University. Curated by Martin Loiperdinger in cooperation with KINtop

Before and during the emergence of permanent film venues, a variety of travelling enterprises offered film shows in different places of public entertainment all over Europe. The big ‘Picture Palaces’ of renowned showman families were among the main attractions of the fairgrounds before the First World War. Smaller companies performed their film shows in town-halls, music-halls, hotels and cafes, or gave even benefit shows in hospitals and asylums. Since film trade had established itself as a free international business from the beginning, and thanks to the well-developed European railway system, covering wide distances and crossing borders was not a problem for travelling cinemas at all. This was a prerequisite for travelling cinemas to become an important branch of European entertainment business between 1896 and the Great War, and thus prepared the ground for the success story of cinema as the new mass medium of the century.

In contrast to its formative potential and importance before the First World War, the phenomenon of the travelling cinema still is one of the dark areas in media history. In terms of archival material, nothing more seems to have survived than letters of application to city administrations, a few programme sheets, sometimes adverts and reports in the local press. Only recently has research on travelling cinema made an enormous step forward, in Britain, through the restoration and exploration of the Mitchell and Kenyon collection by the British Film Institute and the National Fairground Archive. It became clear that travelling cinemas played an important part in communicating the local, besides attracting audiences with fantastic films and views from abroad. Local films and other local and regional extravaganzas of the show (as lecturing in local vernacular etc.)

Encouraged by this splendid research done in Britain, we would like to know much more on travelling cinemas and the culture of the travelling cinema in other European countries. Papers may focus on the regional or local aspects and the impact of travelling film shows, on the geographical range and transnational significance of itinerary ‘Picture Palaces’, on showman families who ran travelling enterprises, on film programming, on live performances, on business strategies etc.

The proceedings of the conference will be published, in English, in KINtop Schriften. Abstracts of 1 – 2 pages should be submitted to: Martin Loiperdinger.

Deadline – 1 March 2007