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Male Cinephiles and Female Movie-Fans

My research focuses on popular film audiences in Paris in the years immediately following the Great War. The rising number of periodicals in these years means that an enormous amount of data about film tastes can be collected from letter columns. The letter columns, which were a common feature of film periodicals, were inundated with letters from ordinary members of the film-going public. During a time before the stabilisation of the distinction between low- and high-brow film publics was established in the mid-1920s, audiences were extremely earnest and vocal about their tastes and preferences and, for the most part, strongly resisted the nouvelle tendance of French and International cinema. I foreground these moments of resistance to the project of the cinephiles provoked by their artistic rupture with popular spectatorship: reports of negative reactions to avant-garde films, devotion to the ciné-romans and fidelity to stars. These moments reveal powerful alternative strains of popular film culture amidst which the French First Wave was trying to win over audiences and educate public about “true film art.”