Fakultäten » Philosophische Fakultät » Filmwissenschaft, Seminar für » Prof. Dr. Margrit Tröhler » Gerber

Completed research project

Title / Titel Cinema, War and Switzerland: Public Debates in and about Cinema During World War I
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Original title / Originaltitel Das Kino, der Krieg und die Schweiz: Öffentliche Debatten im und über Film zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkriegs
Summary / Zusammenfassung The 1910s saw the emergence of various cinematic practices and discourses: After movie theatres had settled in city centres, going-to-the-cinema became a dominant leisure activity of a broad population. While the «narrativization» (Tom Gunning) of movies led to new and subsequently persistent concepts and conventions of film aesthetics, the bourgeois Kinoreform movement raged against popular entertainment. At the same time, legal regulations of the cinema progressed (among others film censorship), film distributors and exhibitors got organised, and the modern film market developed. Under the influence of World War I, moving images were used as a means of national propaganda and certain groups dreamt of a genuine Swiss Film.
The dissertation project aims to analyse such practices and discourses within the concept of cinema as a «public sphere» (based on Corinna Müller / Harro Segeberg). The cultural, social and political aspects of the hitherto neglected history of Swiss cinema and Swiss film reception will be examined. The project focuses on (1) debates of cinema as an institution and of specific films (emphasising that the construction of meaning depends on the historical context of reception); (2) aesthetic forms and narrative structures of specific controversial films; (3) cultural practices of cinema-going; and (4) cinematic presentations such as the locations for and forms of film exhibition, both mainstream and alternative. The conditions concerning film production and distribution are seen only as a part of the background to the public sphere of cinema.
Keywords / Suchbegriffe Switzerland, World War I, film, cinema, reception, propaganda, Kinoreform, advertisement, public sphere
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
lic.phil. Adrian Gerber (Project Leader)
Other links to external web pages
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung), Private Sector (e.g. Industry)
Doktorand im ProDoc:Cinéma et dispositifs audiovisuels: Discours et pratiques; Forschungsmodul: Kinoöffentlichkeit – historische Filmrezeption zwischen Modellvorstellung, Angebot und sozialer Erfahrung
Duration of Project / Projektdauer May 2010 to Apr 2015