Luxurious Cinema Palaces in the Roaring Twenties and the Twenty-First Century: Critical Analyses of Movie Theatres by Siegfried Kracauer and Their Relevance Today

Viola E. RÜHSE
2020 Zenodo  
Impressive cinema palaces with exterior façades illuminated appealingly at night were significant for the big city life of the roaring twenties. The film screenings in the prestigious buildings were framed by a diverse supporting programme. Siegfried Kracauer dealt critically with the formative tendency towards theatricality in the new large cinema buildings such as the Gloria-Palast in Berlin in 1926. He also discussed the supporting programme and the aspect of distraction in the context of
more » ... ern mass and leisure culture in a progressive and extraordinary way. Over the past decade, luxury cinemas have been enjoying a revival. In order to examine today's high-end boutique movie theatres, Siegfried Kracauer's thoughts on large cinemas in the "roaring twenties" in Berlin provide critical impulses. In the first part of my paper, two important texts by Kracauer are analysed. In contrast to previous research, Kracauer's arguments are also compared in greater detail with those by contemporary progressive critics not only in Germany but also in other countries, such as Joseph Roth, Kurt Pinthus, Fritz Olimsky, Kenneth Macpherson, Harry Alan Potamkin and Philip Morton Shand, among others. This also reveals the special nature, quality, and depth of Kracauer's essays. An analysis of modern luxury movie theatres inspired by Kracauer's train of thought follows in the second part of this paper.
doi:10.5281/zenodo.4322139 fatcat:olwfpu2ykfcfzlfxcgmid7optm