New paper on the space of cinema in Shanghai (1919-1943)

Historian Zhao Weiqing (赵伟清) has contributed a new essay on the Virtual Shanghai platform on the process and underlying factors of change in the space of cinema in the foreign settlements of Shanghai before 1949. It is based on the Ph. D. dissertation “Pouvoir et espace : la censure du cinéma dans les concessions à Shanghai (1927-1943)” that the author completed in 2014.” Written in Chinese and entitled 上海租界内电影院空间分布的演变过程及原因探析(1919-1943)[Shanghai zujie nei dianyingyuan kongjian fenbu de yanbian guocheng ji yuanyin tanxi], the papers offers original insight on the rise of cinema in the city. In the first decades of the 20th century, Shanghai  became China’s most important film center, both for production and distribution. The city hosted the largest number of movie theaters in China. From the establishment of the first theater in 1908 by a Spanish national, the distribution of movie theaters gradually transferred and expanded from the Hongkou District, north of Soochow Creek  (Suzhou River)  to the south bank of the International Settlement. This paper uses geographic information system to document and examine the characteristics of the distribution of movie theaters in the city from the perspective of population, traffic, war and other aspects. It analyze a series of factors leading to the particular geographical distribution and discusses the possible links between the space of cinema and urban development and urban cultural space .


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