Currents of empire

Transport, electricity, and early film exhibition in colonial Indonesia

Authored by: Dafna Ruppin

The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138955844
eBook ISBN: 9781315666051
Adobe ISBN:


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In March 1897, a reporter from Bandung, an inland city of tree-lined boulevards and fountains in Central Java soon to be called “the Paris of Java,” offered the following survey of the local popular entertainment scene:

Bandung cannot complain of the inconveniences of an isolated life, as many inland cities in Java have reason to. Traveling artists and impresarios occasionally come here to give shows and spectacles of amusements in various fields, after first appearing and being tested in Batavia – the “pick of the bunch.” … Among the above spectacles are many that one will never get to see in a Dutch provincial town. Where has one in the rural provinces seen a Scenimatograph at work, as Mr. Talbot has shown us here on the 24th?

(“Nederlandsch-Indië,” Java Bode, 29 March 1897) 1

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