Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo - CONFERENZE, Women and the Silent Screen Conference

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Moviegoing in São Paulo in the 1920s
Sheila Schvarzman

Last modified: 2010-05-12

Abstract


Moviegoing is a dated and coded practice. Not only is it a habit to go to a singular place, but also a means to uncover ways of social distinction and gender interaction,  aesthetical fruition, the imagination about leisure and culture and even gender. Though based on external models, its organization acquires in each particular place different aspects that reveal social, economic and cultural amalgams. This paper will examine this process in the Brazilian city of São Paulo along the 1920s, from the perspective of the articles published by the critic Octávio Gabus Mendes in the local cinema magazines Para Todos and Cinearte.

To look at the process of moviegoing from the perspective of a critic brings up issues about the status of movie criticism in 1920s Brazil, but it also helps to understand the critic’s vision of the cinematographic activity in the country, with regard to such different aspects such as the screening of foreign movies and their formats, their gender models, or the proliferation of movie theaters and their transformations during the 1920s, when attracting women spectators was one of the goals of both the new theaters, and the Brazilian film production. This aspect particularly reveals how social, economic and cultural differentiations are construed within the film theaters, and the ways in which film theaters and their public are seen. Such is the goal of this essay.


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