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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The rise of the American motion picture corresponds to the influx of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Just as many of these immigrants initially settled in East Coast and Midwest cities, both movies and movie audiences emerged there as an urban phenomenon. Rather than view this phenomenon only in terms of the images that films of this era offered, this chapter proposes to move beyond a “reflection paradigm” of film history. Of course, film texts reflected immigrant, ethnic, and racial identities. But these identities also existed beyond the text, across movies and movie-going, and embedded within diffuse, multiple, and overlapping networks of imagined relationships. Using Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope, this chapter recounts some preliminary case studies involving race, ethnicity, and immigration to explore how future research in this area might probe the cultural practices of movie-going among diverse audiences during the first half of the twentieth century.

Keywords: audiences, theater, movie-going, Bakhtin, chronotope, Holocaust, anti-Nazi, film, ghetto, literature

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