Cinematic Brno research project focuses on a local film culture in the second largest city of the Czech Republic, Brno, in the period of 1918-1945. At the core of the project stands the institution of movie theatre as a point of intersection of films and its audiences, but also as a city cultural institution. Brno movie theaters we consider as on the one hand a display windows of cinema market, on the other as a mirrors of audience preferences and site importantly influencing film experience, to reveal local exhibition strategies (how do local entrepreneurs “handled” with distribution offer, etc.) and the role which movie theatre and film played in the everyday life of Brno citizens. To explore Brno film culture is a challenge in many ways, mainly in the sense of rethinking the main aspects of film culture from the perspective of tension between the centre (Prague capital) and region (Brno), citizen-spectator majorities (Czechs) and minorities (strong German minority), hierarchies of distribution circuits, etc.
The project is a follow-up to my previous research on the Czechoslovak cinema culture in the period 1945-1970, extending the research design to a comparison with two neighbouring socialist countries: GDR and Poland. The subject of the research deals with production (co-productions), distribution, local exhibition, and reception. A substantial part of the project focuses on co- productions as an example of an attempt to build up a transnational cinema network inside the Soviet bloc, as well as a case study on transfer of production practices.
Another section is devoted to the comparison of the national distribution systems and to the way the respective distribution had been influenced by the Soviets. The third part deals with a comparison of exhibition practices in the three cities of Brno, Leipzig and Poznań. Because of its methodological specificity and strenuousness, the history of reception is limited to:
1. the reception in Brno throughout the period,
2. a case study of the post-war film reception in Leipzig,
3. a comparison of the charts of the biggest hits in the three countries.