UNESCO, mobile cinema, and rural audiences: exhibition histories and instrumental ideologies of the 1940s

Goode, I. (2018) UNESCO, mobile cinema, and rural audiences: exhibition histories and instrumental ideologies of the 1940s. In: Gennari, D. T., Hipkins, D. and O'Rawe, C. (eds.) Rural Cinema Exhibition and Audiences in a Global Context. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke, Hampshire, pp. 219-235. ISBN 9783319663432 (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-66344-9_13)

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The increased availability and take-up of the 16 mm apparatus in the 1940s created the conditions for significant mobilisation of cinema across the world. The report published by UNESCO in 1949 on The Use of Mobile Cinema and Radio Vans in Fundamental Education surveys the extending geography of cinema and supporting media into rural areas, enabling some audiences to experience film for the first time in their lives. It is tempting to regard this cinema as a local, intimate, and communal return to the itinerant roots of early cinema and there is a growing body of local case studies in different national contexts that have expanded on this understanding of 16 mm (Bowles 2011; Acland 2008). Within the widespread take-up of the sub-standard gauge documented by UNESCO under the banner of education, there were other more instrumental and didactic uses that not only reflect the ideological divides that intensified during the post-war period but also provide clues to the way that the rural audience was liable to recruitment by government and related political and cultural institutions (Druick, Z., At the Margins of Cinema History: Mobile Cinema in the British Empire. Public, 40, 2009). These particular uses of the smaller gauge in mobilising cinema offer evidence of the terms through which cultural and political agencies addressed and sought to induct rural audiences. This chapter draws on existing scholarship, illustrative materials, and audience responses to these significant geographical extensions of cinema to argue that the specificities of the rural cinema-going environment that is commonly, but not very helpfully, termed non-theatrical cinema, made available a space where the audience could be constructed, addressed, and surveyed as a collective subject (Klinger, B., ‘Cinema’s Shadow: Reconsidering Non-Theatrical Exhibition’, in R. Maltby, M. Stokes and R. C. Allen (eds.) Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, pp. 273–90, 2007; Allen, R.C., Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 9(2): 15–27, 2006).

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Goode, Dr Ian
Authors: Goode, I.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
Published Online:20 October 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Author
First Published:First published in Rural Cinema Exhibition and Audiences in a Global Context: 219-235
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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