In: Florian Mundhenke/Thomas Weber (eds.): Kinoerfahrungen: Theorien, Geschichte, Perspektiven. Hamburg: AVINUS, 2017. pp. 209-229.
What did the great French film theorist André Bazin think of the collective experience in the cinema? What did he write about the influence co-viewers can have on the emotional engagement, the evaluation and the interpretation of a film? In short: What was his audience theory? To be sure, Bazin is not primarily known as a theorist of the (individual) viewer, and even less so as a theorist of the (collective) audience. And yet at various points in his roughly 2.600 articles he has dealt with questions concerning the cinema’s collectivity. The main goal of this paper is to put together the most important puzzle pieces. In order to fully flesh out Bazin’s theory of the cinema audience I will compare it to his views on the theater and television audiences.