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City-Squats: The cinema-space as a cave for politics

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The focus of this article is on the cinema as a city-space. It is demonstrated that throughout the twentieth century, different social and political groups constituted themselves around cinemas and handled them euphorically as spaces which seem, more than other city-spaces, suited to making ideological interventions, to educating the people and deconstructing dominant myths. By using the cinema these groups were transforming it into a space that became connected with the abolition of injustice and the establishment of equality between the sexes and classes; a space where one could redefine and celebrate one's own identity, or where one could deconstruct dominant stereotypes. Here, enlightenment and the collective awakening to consciousness should happen, and the beginning of a new and more democratic life can start. But besides this we can also find disseminations of the myth of the good cave, that is the cave as a space for corporality, safety, equality, justice, refuge. Here, the cinema is transformed by emphasizing desires for security, equality, a better world, sensuous gratification and the erotic: and making them narratable. All these groups differentiate their own cinema-space from mainstream cinemas which are connected with ideological manipulation and untruth. This article thus investigates the tactics of these different groups and relates them to other developments in urban social spaces. Cinema movements are examined in relation to a history of perception and of the direction of belief, to changes in the public and private spheres and to a history of self-presentation.

Keywords: avant-garde; history of cinema; history of perception; media-shaped public sphere; political movement; public action; the city as a social space

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Vienna, Austria.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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