Why Do People Go to the Cinema?

  • Gideon Bachmann


THE QUEST FOR CULTURAL IDENTITY: WHY DO PEOPLE GO TO THE CINEMA? WE ARE currently witnessing an unprecedented wave of international symposia devoted to the attempt to save traditional cinema viewing systems from total industrialisation. In an epoch ever more characterised by a world economy based entirely on profit, and by what I would call a New Pragmatism deriving from the population explosion, it may in fact be understandable that artistic criteria suffer. Centralised, intensive industrial monopolies exist by virtue of a levelling of public taste on a lowest-common-denominator basis, and thus appear to be imposing it. Subsistence of the American movie machine depends on popularising the mediocre. The temptation therefore grows to forego quality simply to maintain the cinema as a form of popular culture. It is overlooked that "popular" and "culture" do not always coincide. Mass acceptance becomes the measure; all other criteria become luxuries....