Film Exhibition in Warsaw in 1913

A Bottom-up Three-perspectival View of Early Cinema in the Multinational Russian Empire


  • Karina Pryt Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main



Russian Empire, Warsaw, Early Cinema, New Cinema History, GIS, Congress Poland, Yiddish


In the first two decades, when cinema was developing worldwide from a novelty into an entertainment industry, Warsaw belonged to the multinational Romanov empire. Located at its western borders, this Polish city was an important transportation and trade hub and became also a site of the domestic film industry with all its branches – production, distribution, and exhibition. The new medium had a special appeal, and it has always been assumed that the cinema was a social place where people of different classes and ethnicities came together. This article looks at the development of the local cinema market and explores the participations of the local Russian, Polish and Jewish populations. Inspired by the New Cinema History (NCH), it takes its contraposition from the traditional film historiography that uses a top-down approach as a method and the national paradigm as a defining category. Instead, it gives a three-perspectival view utilising a variety of sources including a collection of cinema programmes in three languages from 1913. Based on that, it maps screening venues with QGIS and analysis of cinema programmes, shedding new light onto the complex cinema culture of the city that was called Varshava (Варшава) in Russian, Warszawa in Polish, and Varshe (ווארשע) in Yiddish.




How to Cite

Pryt, Karina. 2022. “Film Exhibition in Warsaw in 1913: A Bottom-up Three-Perspectival View of Early Cinema in the Multinational Russian Empire”. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, no. 15 (December).

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