Capital cinema and film flow: An historical research into the distribution, exhibition and experience of cinema in Brussels
The proposed research project focuses on key aspects of the film culture and industry in the city of Brussels. The Belgian capital, which was widely renowned for its vibrant film culture (cf. a wide range of commercial film venues, art-house cinemas, festivals, as well as Catholic, socialist and other kinds of ideological film exploitation), was considered to be the heart of the Belgian film industry (cf. production, distribution, advertising, exhibition, policy), while the city also played for some time an important role in the European and international trade of motion pictures. This research proposal, which is firmly rooted in the tradition of U+2018new cinema historyU+2019 (cf. usage of social science methodologies within film studies) and which embraces the U+2018spatial turnU+2019 within the humanities and the social sciences (cf. the use of GIS technologies), aims at looking at the history of the Brussels film culture and industry by focusing on three distinct levels: (i) distribution (structures and movie catalogues), (ii) exhibition (structures and programming), and (iii) audience experiences (cinema-going and movie-going). Methodologically the project is in part a follow-up study of previous historical
research on film exhibition and audience experiences in other parts and cities of Belgium
(mainly Flanders, Antwerp and Ghent). Given the pivotal role of Brussels as capital and as the centre of the national film industry, this research will bring forward essential insights for better understanding the development of the power structures and the flow of movies as cultural products within the Belgian film scene.