European Cinemas in the Television Age

European Cinemas in the Television Age

European Cinemas in the Television Age

European Cinemas in the Television Age

Synopsis

European Cinemas in the Television Age is a radical attempt to rethink the post-war history of European cinemas. The authors approach the subject from the perspective of television’s impact on the culture of cinema’s production, distribution, consumption and reception. Thus they indicate a new direction for the debate about the future of cinema in Europe. In every European country television has transformed economic, technological and aesthetic terms in which the process of cinema production had been conducted. Television’s growing popularity has drastically reshaped cinema’s audiences and forced governments to introduce policies to regulate the interaction between cinema and television in the changing and dynamic audio-visual environment. It is cinematic criticism, which was slowest in coming to terms with the presence of television and therefore most instrumental in perpetuating the view of cinema as an isolated object of aesthetic, critical and academic inquiry. The recognition of the impact of television upon European cinemas offers a more authentic and richer picture of cinemas in Europe, which are part of the complex audiovisual matrix including television and new media.

Excerpt

The existing scholarship about European cinemas focuses on the questions dictated by textual formal analysis and its ideological implications. The structures of film production, financing and distribution have little bearing on the predominant understanding of the European cinemas. European Cinemas in the Television Age is a radical attempt to develop the understanding of the production structures of European cinemas from the perspective of their relationship to national and transnational television industries and thus to create a new direction for the debate about European cinemas. In every European country television has transformed economic, technological and aesthetic terms in which the process of cinema production had been conducted. Television’s growing popularity drastically reshaped cinema’s audiences and forced governments to introduce policies to regulate the interaction between cinema and television in the changing and dynamic audio-visual environment. The recognition of the impact of television upon European cinemas offers a more authentic and richer picture of cinemas in Europe in which popular and commercial production not only co-exists and cross-breeds with the art house one but virtually makes the latter possible through subsidising, distributing and exhibiting.

The central objective of this book is to demonstrate the ways in which the range of changes and innovations brought about by television (a complex and multifaceted phenomenon) allows us to open the debate about cinema in new directions and possibly to redefine the existing concept of cinema from the perspective of television.

The nature of film production in Europe is national. The involvement of television with cinema also takes place on the national level. For this reason we have preserved the focus on the individual countries in the central chapters of the book. We are most grateful to a number of national experts who have contributed parts or whole chapters to this part of our project (whilst noting that any general thematic points drawn from an overview of the national cases are of course our own). A Europe-wide survey has allowed us to investigate some broad categories in which television’s impact on cinema can be considered in terms of four key categories: economics, practice, technology and aesthetics. The examination of the impact of television has allowed us to address a number of key concepts in European cinema(s) in new and more realistic ways.

In spite of the efforts of such scholars as Ginette Vincendeau and Susan Hayward ‘national cinema’ is still mostly understood in terms of art film.

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