On reflection I feel that our presentation conveyed that the most important element of the Tuschinski is the atmosphere provided by the grand, luxurious style of the interior and exterior space. The element of the creation of an immersive experience was important to Tuschinski, the ‘real’ and’ fictional’ spaces becoming one. Robyn’s clip is an interesting display of how intermedial the space still is – performance, cinema and dance combine to create an immersive experience for the audience, where they are not sure what is real and what is not, involving them in the fictional world of the movie before they even enter the auditorium space.
I am surprised that there are not more movies filmed at this location, as it provides such a grand and colourful backdrop and would be very useful to period dramas/any movie set in the 20’s/30’s. The film clip from Als Twee Druppels Water (1963) demonstrates how the cinema space can be used effectively in crime/espionage thrillers, as the dark, anonymous space of the auditorium can provide a great set for sneaky, underhand dealings, or hiding from unwanted pursuers. This has certainly been echoed in other crime, thriller and horror films. In the darkness, the auditorium becomes the perfect place to hide – you are faceless – one of the crowd. In this wartime movie, (mistaken) identity is a core theme due to the doppelganger that drags Ducker into the efforts of the Dutch resistance being revealed as non-existent. The transformation of his character was not due to the parachutist, but within Ducker all along. The scene at the Tuschinski could have been filmed in any cinema, however this building provides connotations of opulence and drama, plus the over riding layer of being the most desirable, enjoyable and important cinema space in Amsterdam. The art deco style was established in the 20’s and elements retained through the 30’s and early 40’s in terms of decor and architecture, coinciding with the boom in the crime and film noir genres, thus the dimly lit, warm yellow glow and gothic undertones of this space will always be desirable to match those connotations.
There is little to comment on the transformation of the building over time, as it has been meticulously restored to ensure it retains its style in both interior and exterior. This demonstrates that the importance of this building to remain a monument representational of this era has been recognised by the authorities. This over the top, showy style has proven popular throughout the ages, considering the demise in the contrasting Cineac theater opposite, which posits the distinct opposition in stylistic quality and is no longer used as a theater space. The nostalgic popularity of the art deco style is timeless and retains the links to theater that are inherent in cinematic exhibition, unlike the Cineac’s functionlist style, which appears dated and non transferable to continued cinematic experience.
I would have liked to make closer comparison of the clip and the entryway of the cinema, but this was unfortunately forgotten in the rush to use the interior space for our presentation. It also does not reveal that much, except for minor changes in the barriers of the entryway – the ticket window is still there. When we were outside we had moved on to the other clips. I am glad that Christopher argued our way inside, as it provided a nice space to deliver the presentation away from the distractions of the busy street outside and was easier to show the style of the building to those who had not been inside (although I think most people had). We are planning to contact the Cinetone Cafe in order to reserve a space to deliver next week’s presentation as we are presenting the (now closed) Cinetone Studios.
In order to improve upon our presentation this week, we are planning to pay closer attention to the clips – the one provided on the ipad (Hollands Hollywood (1933)- the cinematic tribute to the newly opened Cinetone Studios) will be explained and contextualised with the history of the studios opening and the ‘state’ of Dutch film making/production processes of the time. We will also link this to Theater De Le Mar which was opened in tribute to the glamourous star – Fien De La Mar, and is still open today. This theatre clearly aims towards luxury in its interior design and grand staircases, but cannot match the Tuschinksi for dark and gloomy glamour! This clip from the Open Beelden website shows footage from 1947 of the opening:
It is difficult to discuss clips that we cannot show due to lack of internet access on the ipads, but we will endeavour to provide other materials. Ivo has kindly given us some photographic copies of ‘behind the scenes’ shots of films made at the studios, so we will research these films also and the practical requirements of literally ‘building’ the city of Amsterdam.
Whole host of behind the scene and studio shots from Cinetone Studios on the Stadsarchief archive – to be selected as per film research before next week: