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Looking at Movie Fans: On Pictures Published in French Film Magazines of the Interwar Years

Abstract : This paper concentrates on the use of French movie magazines of the interwar period for doing research on the construction and activation of fans. The paper argues that movie magazines like like Cinéa, Cinémagazine, Mon Ciné and Pour Vous are a precious historical source to study movie audiences, fandom and cinephilia. Focusing upon pictures of male and female readers in French film magazines during the interwar years, this presentation explores some of the ways movie fans lived, expressed and shared their passion. The paper is built around three case studies: one on portraits sent to magazines in order to participate to several “search for a star” contests; a second on images published in the weekly magazine Pour Vous, more in particular pictures sent ‘spontaneously’ to the magazine; and a final case study on pictures showing stars side by side with the lucky winners of a movie culture contest organized by Cinémonde in 1932. Each of these case studies offers an opportunity to gather factual data about the readers of the magazines, but at the same time it questions their value because such documents cannot be separated from their social uses and meanings. Far from regarding movie magazines as an accurate sociological portrait of the French cinephilic community of the interwar period, we have to consider them more as a testimony on the way people appropriated the movies, with the help of the magazines but also on their own initiative. These pictures remind us that cinema is of course not only an art, but also a social phenomenon, a culture and a kind of family that includes movie fans across countries and ages. Indeed, by putting a face on otherwise anonymous ordinary spectators, they help us to see them as persons, sometimes evoking the strange feeling of browsing through an old family album. Having travelled through the times, these pictures remind us today that not only stars but also movie fans had faces.
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Contributor : Myriam Juan Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, September 27, 2019 - 10:55:55 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 11:34:54 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02298751, version 1



Myriam Juan. Looking at Movie Fans: On Pictures Published in French Film Magazines of the Interwar Years. Mapping Movie Magazines. Digitization, Periodicals and Cinema History, Palgrave MacMillan, 2020, (Global Cinema), 978-3-030-33276-1. ⟨hal-02298751⟩



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