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The Microcinema Movement and Montreal

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The Microcinema Movement and Montreal

de Ville, Donna (2014) The Microcinema Movement and Montreal. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This dissertation offers a cultural studies analysis of the microcinema phenomenon in the urban environment. It provides a working understanding of the term as a cultural practice located at small-scale, alternative, DIY exhibition sites that provide noncommercial, nontheatrical options for moviegoing. Identifying the key attributes of microcinema, it demonstrates that alternative film practice requires certain economic, demographic and cultural attributes of a metropolitan locale be present in order to be sustained and that the presence of cultural intermediaries such as programmers are critical to coalescing these subcultural scenes.
After presenting an overview of the historical antecedents to microcinema and of the microcinema movement that peaked in the 1990s in Canada and the US, this dissertation examines contemporary practices in four cities with vibrant film communities and gives thick descriptions of distinctive sites. It focuses primarily on the city of Montreal, Quebec and the manner in which socio-economic issues and cultural policy affect the stability of alternative, DIY venues and practices. It follows the trajectory of the creation and termination of Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Centre in Montreal and discusses the challenges of establishing this type of venue in the city.
Using a Bourdieuian analytical framework, a primary argument of this project is that microcinemas are often cultivated as alternatives to the well-established—and culturally and economically hegemonic—commercial movie industry and sometimes oppositionally as a rejection of it, and that practitioners purposefully differentiate their exhibition practices from those of the mainstream (public and individual). Microcinema spaces are fertile ground for investigating multiple interests at the nexus of film and cultural studies: issues of taste and distinction as expressed through cinephilia and paracinephilia; the role of hipsters, subcultural entrepreneurs and cultural intermediaries; the creative economies and cultural policies of urban locales (conceptualized through the concept of bohemia). These issues are examined in terms of major themes that arise in the discourse surrounding microcinema, such as gentrification, alternativeness and authenticity, that work to position the movement in contrast to perceived mainstream practices. Moreover, as sites of potential cultural hierarchy tensions between high and low forms of cinema, it argues that former concepts of fan cultures, such as paracinephiles, are not fluid enough to describe present day taste formations.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:de Ville, Donna
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Communication
Date:February 2014
ID Code:978490
Deposited By: DONNA DE VILLE
Deposited On:12 Jun 2014 19:46
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:46
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