The online database Cinematic Brno was created as a part of the project Local history of Cinema: Brno and Cultural History of Cinema to 1945, supported by the Czech Science Foundation (408/08/0959).
The database consists of two parts. The first covers Brno cinemas and their programmes in 1918-1945. All available programmes of Brno cinemas during this period were transcribed into the database based on information in the local newspapers and archives. Because of that, it is not only possible to reconstruct what films were being played in Brno cinemas on a particular day and what Brno cinema-goers could choose from, but you can also analyse in more detail the strategies of selecting programmes for different cinemas, the length of a film's distribution life within the city or the success of a film with the public, which can be inferred from the length of its run in cinemas. Users of the database are warned that some peripheral cinemas did not advertise their programming at all or only randomly, and thus the reconstruction of programming is in these cases gaping or completely absent.
The second part of the database consists of transcripts of semi-structured interviews with narrators - Brno cinemagoers, who visited the cinemas before 1945. The interviews were conducted with those who identified themselves as regular visitors, who at some stage of their lives visited Brno cinemas once a week or more often. These interviews were transcribed and then coded using Atlas.ti software. This database makes it possible to understand the specific habits associated with cinema-going, to illustrate the circumstances and motivations of cinema-going, and to understand what role cinema, cinematography, specific films or film stars played in the lives of Brno audiences. The database offers the user to search by topics, the time period to which the testimony relates, the films or cinemas mentioned, and the social, gender, age or nationality of the narrator.
The database was significantly inspired by the pioneering project of the Dutch film historian Karl Dibbets, Cinema in Context. It is part of the information infrastructure within the History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception (HoMER) research network.
The origin of the database
The main part of the data collection for this database took place in 2008-2011, when the research project Local history of Cinema: Brno and Cultural History of Cinema to 1945, supported by the Czech Science Foundation, was implemented. Since then, partial adjustments, refinements and additions to the database have been continuously carried out as part of a series of research seminars at the Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture of the Faculty of Arts of MU. Pavel Skopal, Petr Szczepanik, Lucie Česálková and Anna Batistová were the main researchers, while the structure of the database was prepared by Dušan Barok. At a later stage, Terézia Porubčanská took over the maintenance of the database and the work on data collection was coordinated by Michal Večeřa. In addition, a number of students of the Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture were involved in the work on the database, its maintenance and refinement.
In 2022, under the LINDAT/CLARIAH-CZ project, the content of the database was transferred from the original interface to the Islandora system and enriched with new functionalities. The Cinematic Brno database is now part of the infrastructure Digitalia MUNI ARTS . The documentation of the Cinematic Brno database is freely available here.
The database has been used for a number of studies and especially for the book publication Filmové Brno : dějiny lokální filmové kultury (Prague: National Film Archive 2016, editors Lucie Česálková and Pavel Skopal).
We would like to thank the Brno City Archives, the Moravian Provincial Archive in Brno, the Brno City Museum, the National Archives and the National Film Archive for their support in the research, and for providing written archival and visual material. Of course, special thanks go to those who shared their memories with us.
The contents of the database are accessible via REST API.