An Anatolian City: A Research on Cinema Culture and Movie Theatres in Eskisehir

Berna Üstün

Abstract


Not only physical presences, but also histories and memories of the cities transform. The changes in the built environments result in the erasure of past records from urban space as well as from the minds of urban dwellers. Photographs and movies record the past and document the life and culture in the built environment. Movie theaters are important as they are the sites of meanings and memories of the past. First movie theaters were built after cinema was embraced by urban dwellers as a cultural activity and a realm of socialization. In order to be accessible by citizens, movie theaters were positioned at the centers of the cities as new social and public spaces. In Turkey, cinema appeared as an institution after the republic was established, spread in 1940s, and became a lifestyle and a means of socialization in 1960s. Pioneering steps of the cinema culture took place in Istanbul and soon spread primarily in big cities such as Ankara, Adana, Izmir, and Eskisehir. Eskisehir also met cinema culture in the republican period. As cinema became a popular means of socialization, the number of movie theaters including open air theaters raised up to 25 in the most vivid period. The advent and expansion of TV in 1970s and video in 1980s, however, undermined the cinema culture. In the later years, the cinema culture which existed in many independent movie theaters spread in various parts of the city transformed into the smaller multi-movie-theaters in sterile spaces, i.e. shopping malls, as a part of shopping and dining culture. The movie theaters were not able to resist capitalism, and closed down one by one, and were erased from the urban space as well as from the memories of the citizens. This research aims at exploring and documenting the transformation of Eskisehir’s independent movie theater buildings, which were considered as spaces of socialization for many years in the modernization process of the republican period.

Keywords


Cinema culture, movie theaters, movie theaters in Eskisehir.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15320/ICONARP.2018.62

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