Old Cinemas of Izmir and Yıldız Cinema: Space, Society, Spectatorship


Inspired by “new cinema history,” this study explores cinema and the culture of movie-going in Izmir between 1950 and 1980. Special attention is paid to the Yıldız Cinema (1953-1988), which now features an astro-pitch, billiard hall, and ping-pong hall in its old and tired building. Based on qualitative data obtained from the local newspaper Yeni Asır and from interviews with 34 people, the study examines cinema as public space, social event, and eld of spectatorship in context of Izmir’s everyday life. It argues that cinema audiences in the period studied were not a homogeneous mass. Nor was the social experience of cinema a monotype experience. The study examines various types of experience depending on age, gender, socioeconomic class, and taste. Thus, it suggests that cinema is not only a eld of collective entertainment and pleasure but also a eld of struggle, incorporating diverse encounters and con icts.

Keywords: Izmir cinemas, culture of movie-going, public space, social ex- perience, spectatorship.

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