The book Travelling Cinema in Europe. Sources and Perspectives, edited by Martin Loiperdinger and published as KINtop Schriften 10, presents the proceedings of the international conference Travelling Cinema in Europe, which was held from 6 to 8 September 2007 in the cinema of the Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg. The conference took place within the framework of the Travelling Cinema Project which was organized by the Cinémathèque and Trier University’s Media Studies Department as part of “Luxembourg and the Greater Region, European Capital of Culture 2007”. Besides the conference, as its academic section, the Travelling Cinema Project embraced multimedia production and elaborate screening practice: i. e., making the DVD Crazy Cinématographe. Europäisches Jahrmarktkino 1896-1916, and, most importantly, performing screenings of early film programmes in the travelling cinema tent Crazy Cinématographe, which had been created by the Cinémathèque for film shows on fairs in Luxembourg and in four cities of the Greater Region. Thus, the conference was embedded in a screening practice project which realized the revival of early cinema among today’s fairground visitors, and brought early cinema back to the environment within which it had spent its formative years around 1900, before the boom of the creation of fixed-site cinemas provided permanent access to the film medium, even in smaller communities, from 1906 onward.
It was not the intention of the conference to give a total overview of travelling cinema exhibition and practices in the numerous countries of Europe around 1900. Instead, the conference intended to look at historical sources and to discuss perspectives for further research on travelling cinema in Europe. This was done in four sections that correspond to the four chapters of this book:
First, the project opened inspiring and promising perspectives for research based upon a variety of sources from the commercial heyday of travelling cinema in Europe during the first decade of the 20th century.
Second, the project took a closer look at those travelling cinema entrepreneurs who toured with their film shows around Luxembourg and the Greater Region before the First World War, i. e., in a region in the centre of Europe which is characterised by a multitude of idioms and dialects within the German- as well as the French-speaking groups of the population. Third, different aspects of the manifold screening practices of non-commercial travelling cinema from the early 1920s up to the 1960s. Fourth, the epilogue of the book gives a résumé of the screening and performing experiences of the Crazy Cinématographe programmes on the fairground in Luxembourg and evaluates their relevance for the presentation of early cinema to today’s audiences in the context of a modern leisure environment.