In respect to the Cinema Context database, Karel Dibbets argued that basic data about the Who, What, Where and When of film exhibition and distribution represent the genes within the DNA of film culture. Building upon this imaginative use of the DNA-metaphor, this article seeks to develop the idea that the Cinema Context model contains only one of the two helixes of film culture’s DNA. In biochemistry, double helix is the term used to describe the structure of DNA, which consists of two spiral chains. The question is: what exactly constitutes the second helix of film culture? And what are the implications of the double helix structure for New Cinema Historiography? We argue that a wide range of data about audience practices and their everyday lives (from statistics about religious affiliation and population density to personal memories about cinemagoing) form the building blocks of the second helix and that these data need to be studied in interrelationship with each other. To bring focus into such research, we propose to use the concept of milieu as a heuristic tool and we explore its potential with a case study about moviegoing practices among Dutch Orthodox Protestants (Gereformeerden) in the Netherlandsin the immediate post-war era (1945–early 1960s).

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Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis

Thissen, Judith, & van der Velden, André. (2018). Op zoek naar de tweede helix: Over het milieubegrip en de ontrafeling van het DNA van de Nederlandse filmcultuur. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 21(1), 19–38. doi:10.18146/2213-7653.2018.336