Early Turkish and Balkan Cinema in Western Periodicals

Rather than cinematic representations, this study predominantly touches on the
discourses of Western film publications on the Balkans especially during the birth
and rise of cinema in the beginning of the twentieth century. The Balkans, the film
exhibitions in the region, the films made, and the film theaters opened there as
seen in these publications are discussed through the West's perception of the East.
With their unitary focus on the Near East and the Ottoman Empire, the influence
of these studies are not limited to the print publications but extends to the
commercial and economic realms of the era. Furthermore, during the development
of cinema in the larger geographic area of the Balkans including Turkey, the article
focuses mainly on the approach of Western European journals toward the early
cinematic period until the First World War when actualities and short fiction films
were more common. These Western film journals approached the Balkans and the
Ottoman lands of the early twentieth century through Orientalism, with a
colonialist discourse, as a land to be exploited by the cinema industry. At the same
time, in the articles of these magazines by different countries, the competition and
conflicts over the dominance of the region is clearly observed. In addition, there
are also articles on the interest of Turks and other countries in the Balkans on
cinema, their films, and the film theaters founded by them. These could be
accepted as important sources to be utilized when writing the early film history in
the Balkans.

Savaş Arslan
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