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Doing Women's Film HistoryReframing Cinemas, Past and Future$
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Julia Knight and Christine Gledhill

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039683

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039683.001.0001

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Imagining Women at the Movies

Imagining Women at the Movies

Male Writers and Early Film Culture in Istanbul

Chapter:
(p.53) Chapter 3 Imagining Women at the Movies
Source:
Doing Women's Film History
Author(s):

Canan Balan

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252039683.003.0005

This chapter examines early film culture in Istanbul by focusing on how Turkish male writers constructed cinema-going Turkish women in early twentieth-century and postwar Istanbul. The goal is to analyze gendered concerns about spectatorship emerging in the patriarchal imagination of that time. In order to understand the reception of early cinema in Turkey as well as the cultural status of Turkish cinema among the Ottoman/Turkish intelligentsia and the gender politics surrounding it, the chapter looks at novels, poems, and newspaper reviews. The discussion begins with an overview of film market in post-World-War I Istanbul and cinema-going as a public experience in the Ottoman capital. An analysis of female spectators depicted by male authors reveals a changing culture of spectatorship. This occurred concomitantly with the sociopolitical transition from the declining Ottoman Empire to the rise of the Turkish nation-state. The chapter argues that the change in gender politics during this period triggered the new anxieties that creative writers project onto the activity of filmgoing, and particularly that by cinema-going women.

Keywords:   film market, Turkish women, Turkish male writers, spectatorship, gender politics, cinema-going, female spectators, Ottoman Empire, Turkish cinema

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