Cinema Context 2

Special issue Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis (TMG):

Cinema in Context

Last year, Dutch film historian Karel Dibbets launched the website Cinema Context (see post on February 10th), an on-line database of Dutch cinema culture. Cinema Context aspires to become a new standard among the digital reference sources, comparable to the Internet Movie Database which was put on-line in 1996 by film buff and computer freak Col Needham and which since then has become an indispensable source for millions of film lovers and scholars worldwide. Whereas IMDb mainly offers film production data, Cinema Context is a research tool for the study of film programming and distribution.

Dibbets launched his website during the Cinema in Context conference (Amsterdam, 20-21 April 2006), where several projects of the international research group Homer (History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception) were presented. The conference addressed the urgent question of the future of film studies, in general, and film history, in particular. Anno 2006, film history proved to be in a dynamic but problematic phase. Which direction will we take in the coming years? Can we collaborate more and in which ways? How do we deal with the growing but very diversified digital sources? What will be their role in our future research? Which questions are pertinent and which technologies do we need? Lastly, have we reached the limits of our territory?

This special issue of Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis (2006/2), edited by Ivo Blom and Wanda Strauven, documents the important debate of the Cinema in Context conference. It deals with burning questions such as local vs. national identity, film history vs. cultural geography, ‘factual’ history writing, consumerism, and the state and availability of film historical research. The issue contains the four keynote papers (in English) of the conference, and two Dutch contributions. All articles have English written summaries. The issue also contains a list of relevant websites.


‘Cinema in context: het einde van filmstudies?’, by Ivo Blom & Wanda Strauven

‘The place of space in film historiography’, by Robert C. Allen

Cinema Context en onderzoek naar sociale netwerken binnen de filmgeschiedschrijving: een aanzet tot discussie’, by André van der Velden, Thunnis van Oort, Fransje de Jong and Clara Pafort Overduin

‘Het taboe van de Nederlandse filmcultuur. Neutraal in een verzuild land’, by Karel Dibbets

‘Just the Facts, M’am?’ A Short History of Ambivalence Towards Empiricism in Cinema Studies’, by Ian Christie

‘On the Prospect of Writing Cinema History from Below’, by Richard Maltby

‘Local cinema histories in France: An Overview’, by Jean-Jacques Meusy

You can order the Cinema in Context issue (€ 25 excl.) at Boom Publishers.


Address: Boom Publishers, Martine Siemons, Prinsengracht 747, 1017 JX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.