Ethnography as a Tool of Cinema History: Cinemagoing in Light of the Experience of a Local Film Market
Jean-Marc Leveratto and Fabrice Montebello
Abstract: This article shows the heuristic value of a film consumption study that combines oral archives and fieldwork with written sources. Oral archives on film consumption provided by a local film market of Longwy, an industrial town of north-eastern France, during the 1950s allow the researcher to reconstruct the audience’s collective experience of the films released on this market. Combined with a systematic study of local releases and their box office, they give us access to the artistic expertise of local filmgoers in the past and motivate us to challenge the conventional interpretation of film consumption as the ostensibly predictable expression of a social taste.