Why Young People Still Go to the Movies

Historical and contemporary cinemagoing audiences in Belgium

Authored by: Lies Van de Vijver

The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138955844
eBook ISBN: 9781315666051
Adobe ISBN:


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One of the recurrent arguments within new cinema history is that cinemagoing was more than consuming or making sense of movies; it was a social event as well, and the sociality of the cinema was a key motivational factor for historical audiences. Researching contemporary cinema audiences raises a question about whether cinema remains a social event, and if so, what is the nature of its sociality in the digital era of a hypermediated society? The goal of this chapter is to examine the motivations for cinemagoing today and to establish the role of sociality for contemporary cinemagoers. After examining the literature on historical cinema audiences and their social motivations for cinemagoing, I will use a mixed-method approach in order to understand shifting cinemagoing motivations, both in the past and the present, highlighting the persistently social nature of cinemagoing. The chapter will use the results of a large-scale survey of contemporary youth audiences in Belgium, as well as an oral history study on historical cinema audiences.

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