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The Komedi Bioscoop

The Komedi Bioscoop

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The Komedi Bioscoop

The Emergence of Movie-going in Colonial Indonesia, 1896-1914

By Dafna Ruppin

KINtop Studies in Early Cinema – 4

Publication date: 2016
Total pages: 256
ISBN: 9780 86196 723 0
Price: £ 35.00


The Komedi Bioscoop traces the emergence of a local culture of movie-going in the Netherlands Indies (present-day Indonesia) from 1896 until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. It outlines the introduction of the new technology by independent touring exhibitors, the constitution of a market for moving picture shows, the embedding of moving picture exhibition within the local popular entertainment scene, and the Dutch colonial authorities’ efforts to control film consumption and distribution. Focusing on the cinema as a social institution, in which technology, race and colonialism converged, moving picture venues in the Indies – ranging from canvas or bamboo tents to cinema palaces of brick and stone – are perceived as liminal spaces in which daily interactions across boundaries could occur within colonial Indonesia’s multi-ethnic and increasingly polarized colonial society.




1. Trials and Tribulations of Early Traveling Shows, 1896–1898

2. The Dutch Come into the Picture

3. Komedi Bioscoop, Indische Films and the Localisation of Film

4. Surabaya: Queen City of Moving Picture Venues

5. Batavia: Capital of Chinese Cinema Venues

6. Semarang: The Battleground over the Permanent Fairground Town

7. Medan: The Making and Breaking of a Monopoly

Concluding remarks; Bibliography


Dafna Ruppin holds a PhD in Media and Performance Studies from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Her research on the exhibition, consumption and production of early cinema in the Netherlands Indies forms part of the research project “The Nation and Its Other” funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). She has contributed to various publications and conferences ranging in focus, including early cinema, history of movie-going, and Southeast Asian Studies.

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