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Record: oai:ARNO:172906

AuthorIvo Blom
TitleJean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
PlaceAmsterdam
ImprintAmsterdam University Press
Title seriesFilm Culture in Transition
Year2003
Pages480
ISBN9789053565704
KeywordCulture and institutions; Motion pictures; History, geography, and auxiliary disciplines; Culture and instituten; Film; Geschiedenis
AbstractDe levensloop van de Nederlandse bioscoopeigenaar en filmdistributeur Jean Desmet (1875-1956) biedt niet alleen inzicht in een excentrieke persoonlijkheid, maar staat ook model voor de veranderingen in de filmwereld als geheel. Door buitenlandse filmproducties voor vertoning naar Nederland te brengen leverde Desmet een substantiĆ«le bijdrage aan de radicale veranderingen die tussen 1907 en 1916 plaatsvonden in de filmindustrie. Het Filmmuseum in Amsterdam is sinds 1957 in het bezit van de Desmet-verzameling waarin de nalatenschap van deze excentrieke filmliefhebber bewaard is gebleven. Dit materiaal vormde het uitgangspunt van deze originele studie waarin Ivo Blom aan de hand van Desmet's levensverhaal de geschiedenis van de filmdistributie en -vertoning vertelt. Zijn rijk geĆÆllustreerde en grondig gedocumenteerde uiteenzetting is uitgegroeid tot een episch verhaal dat - meer dan een productie-georienteerde geschiedenis - een rijk en afgerond beeld schetst van de vroege stadse filmcultuur.
Since 1957 the Film Museum in Amsterdam has been in possession of the Desmet Collection which contains the estate of the Dutch cinema owner and film distributor Jean Desmet (1875-1956). The collection comprises almost nine hundred European and American films in all genres, a collection of publicity material and a dauntingly large business archive. These three sources form the basis of this first comprehensive reconstruction of Desmet's career: from his nomadic beginnings as a traveling showman, working the seasonal fairgrounds of the Netherlands and Belgium, to his successful switch to permanent cinema operation and film distribution. The history of Desmet's career offers not simply an abstract of an individual character and his personal ambitions and motivations, but also epitomizes transformations in the world of cinema as an industry. Between 1907 and 1916 the world of cinema experienced radical structural change which Desmet not only witnessed but also helped to bring about. Given the insufficiencies of Dutch film production, Desmet became a link between film production abroad and film exhibition in the Netherlands. Desmet is not merely representative of the rise of the permanent movie house and the coming of the film distributor. This book shows how his fortunes also encapsulate a series of structural changes within the new culture of permanent cinema and film distribution. In film distribution these changes embraced the introduction of film rental, the advent of the long feature film, the introduction of the monopoly distribution system and the periodic transformation of the products on offer. In the business of cinema operation change involved specialization, the creation of fixed theater venues, the development of a theater hierarchy, expansions of scale, the introduction of trade journals and the gradual legitimization of cinema as a popular cultural institution. These transformations were not confined to the Netherlands but were also taking place in the rest of Europe. Indeed, they were first set in motion by other European countries, and in order fully to understand Desmet it is necessary to situate him in his larger European context. In this original and wide-ranging study Ivo Blom uses the career of Jean Desmet as a means of exploring the history of cinema from the ground-level position of film distribution and exhibition. His copiously illustrated and scrupulously documented exposition swells into an epic narrative that offers a richer, more rounded -indeed 'truer' - account of early urban cinema culture than is possible from the confined perspective of production-based film histories.
BICAPFB; JF; AP; HB
Document typeBook
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