Crazy Cinématographe – Travelling Cinema in Europe


An update on the Crazy Cinématographe project and the forthcoming conference, Travelling Cinema in Europe, taking place in Luxembourg, 6-8 September 2007. There is now a project/conference website, not all of which is active as yet, but there are these details of the programme:

International Conference

Travelling Cinema in Europe / Wanderkino in Europa

Luxembourg, 6 – 8 September 2007

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

Programme of the Conference (as of 23 May 2007):

Thursday, 6 September 2007

13.00 Conference Opening
Panel 1: Travelling Cinema in Europe Before World War One
13.30 – 15.00 Vanessa Toulmin (Sheffield): “The World at Your Doorsteps”: Travelling Cinematograph Shows in the United Kingdom
Matthew Solomon (New York): Méliès and the Fairground
15.00 – 15.30 Coffee Break
15.30 – 17.00 Guido Convents (Brussels): International Travelling Cinemas in Belgium
Mustafa Ozen (Utrecht): Travelling Cinemas in Istanbul
17.30 – 18.00 Coffee Break
18.00 – 19.30 N. N.: Travelling Cinemas As Seen From the Fairground Context
Jeanpaul Goergen (Berlin) : Memories of Travelling Cinema Showmen
20.00 Dinner

Friday, 7 September 2007

Panel 1 continued
09.00 – 10.30 Joseph Garncarz (Siegen): Travelling Cinema – A European Institution
Daniel Fritsch (Berlin): The Austrian travelling showbusiness magazine Die Schwalbe
10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
Panel 2: Non-commercial Uses of Travelling Film and Picture Shows
11.00 – 13.30 Torsten Gärtner (Trier): Travelling Lantern Mission in the United Kingdom
Christian Kuchler (München): Catholic Mission through Travelling Film Shows in Bavaria
Yvonne Zimmermann (Zürich): Advertising Brands through Travelling Corporate Film Shows in Switzerland
13.30 – 15.00 Lunch Break
15.00 – 16.30 Urszula Biel (Gliwice): German and Polish Agitation through Travelling Cinemas in Upper Silesia
Thomas Tode (Hamburg): Agitprop through Travelling Cinemas on Rail in the Soviet Union
16.30 -17.00 Coffee Break
Panel 3: Travelling Cinema Today
17.00-19.00 Short Presentations of Current Activities (Cinéma Numérique in France, Movimiento – Short Films on the Road, Ciné Fleuve in the Greater Region, Crazy Cinématographe)
20.00 – Crazy Cinématographe, Schueberfouer, Luxembourg

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Panel 4: Travelling Cinema in the Greater Region
09.00 – 10.30 Uli Jung (Trier): Travelling Cinema in the Greater Region – an Overview
Paul Lesch (Luxemburg): Travelling Cinema in Luxemburg
10.30 – 11.00 Coffee Break
11.00 – 12.30 Gerhild Krebs (Saarbrücken): Hirth’s Travelling Cinema Palace in the Saar Region
Brigitte Braun (Trier): Travelling Stand-Alone Film Shows in the Greater Region
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch Break
13.30 – 15.00 Closing Discussion
15.00 End of Conference

Crazy Cinématographe itself is a travelling cinema show, featuring films from the first decade of the twentieth century which is touring Luxembourg through August and September, and then Trier (Germany), Saarbrücken (Germany), Thionville (France) and Liège (Belgium). It’s described thus:

A travelling cinema in a circus tent brings new life to a traditional fairground attraction. Pedlars, musicians and barkers will sweep visitors into the festivities of ‘Crazy Cinématographe’ for zany, outlandish cinematic experiences. It’s a dive into a phantasmagorical, burlesque world with outrageous freak shows, and when night falls, a discovery of erotic fantasies.

There are two associated DVD releases, and when I find more information that’s not in German, I’ll tell you about them.

11 responses

  1. the Crazy Cinematograph Show has now opened in three venues Trier, Saarbrucken and Luxembourg at part of the celebrations of the Luxembourg and Greater Region Capital of Culture 2007. I’ve just returned from Luxembourg where over 9000 people visited the show in the tent of the three weeks of the fair and added to the three thousand in the other two places over two weekends gives an amazing 12,000 people who have seen travelling cinema return to the fairground. The DVD is now out and the show goes to tow more places – its truly amazing if not unforgetable including the experience of seeing the films projected at the right speed complete with lecturer and animators and of course the tent itself. The conference was very interesting and discussed the varying aspects and roles of fairground cinema, travelling shows and the varieties of cinema exhibitors who go under the banner of travelling and how long these shows continued. Great conference, great discussions and looking forward to the book

  2. Congratulations on those fabuolous visitor figures, and great to hear the conference was a success too. I’ll post a reminder about the DVD, but maybe you might be able to send me a conference and/or show report (or use something you may have preprared elsewhere) for The Bioscope? It would be great to have some sort of eye-witness account. Or any pictures?


  3. Wonderful to read about this conference and to know that there are people who are enthused with the early traveling cinemas. There are still a few traveling cinemas in Mexico, known as Hungaros. They aren’t Hungarian, it’s just a word many Mexicans associated with wandering travelers/gipsies.
    I have my own traveling cinema, which I established in 1993. I travel with a folding screen, a sound system and a 16mm projector. My films range from early cartoons & silent short films, to music Soundies and a feature length documentary about art cars. I have presented nearly 700 free screenings, toring acroos the U.S., Canada and the west coast of Mexico. Most of my tours have been by bicycle with a small cargo trailer. Upcoming tours will be by boat in the Caribbean. So far I have been funding my cinema and intend for it to always be free admission.
    -Hunter, founder International Migrant Filmworkers

  4. Europe, India, Mexico, USA, Canada… there’s a rich history here of the travelling cinemas of the past and those such as yourself who are keeping up the tradition. Someone ought to be writing down the history, or something. There’s something noble, and very much in the spirit of early cinema (before there were cinemas) of taking the films to the people by whatever form you can. Good luck to you!


  5. Hi,

    I´m planning a (fictional) movie about travelling cinema in rural Northern Germany in the mid-fifties.
    If you have any information where documentary material about travelling ciname after WWII is available, would you please contact me?
    Thank you very much!

    Kind regards Ulrike Bliefert

  6. I am currently studying Film and English and entering my third year. As a proposal for my disertation i have chosen the subject of travelling cinema to write on. I was wondering if anyone has any material on travelling cinema theory, weather this be general information or preferably writings on this medium. I would be much grateful if someone could give me a link or point me in the right direction.
    Thank you so much
    Good faith

  7. Pingback: Travellin’ on « The Bioscope

  8. I found this link while doing a small reasearch about other travelling cinemas.
    Im from Estonia and I can tell you – there are several travelling cinemas in Europe. In Estonia we have a travelling cinema called Kinobuss (Cinema bus). We are operating since 2001 – we do travelling festivals but also operate all year around in regular mobile cinema basis. We have the equipment – so we screen films in local culture centres and we also provide film education by offering film-animation workhops and trainings for youth. The reason for the travelling cinema was the extinsion of cinemas after the Soviet period when around 600-700 rural / small cinemas were shut down or they couldnt operate anylonger.
    We have travelled around in several countries in Europe doing screenings and film workshops. We do have a bus too :) but that is more like our symbol…We use a bit more effective little cars for driving around regularly!

    There is also a travelling cinema now in Lithuania (since 2006, called Kino Busas) and they also started a new thing in Latvia this year. And a Kinomobil in Germany, Baden-Württemberg area. And there should be travelling cinemas also in Norway and in Romania.

    It is very good to know and cool to see that the travelling cinema culture is kept alive around the world!

  9. Thanks for letting us know about travelling cinema in Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania and beyond. As I’ve said in a previous comment, this is phenomenon from the past being kept alive in the present that someone should be documenting. It’s happening in Britain too, after a fashion – actress Tilda Swinton taking mobile cinema to the “wild Scottish countryside”:

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