Locating Inter-Scandinavian Silent Film Culture : Connections, Contentions, Configurations

Sammanfattning: The thesis revisits film and film-culture history in Sweden, Denmark and Norway with a view to discourses and practices of the inter- and trans-Scandinavian in the silent era. Excluding the earliest films, but including the transition to synchronised sound, it covers the period of the 1900s to 1930 with emphasis on the 1910s and 1920s. The thesis identifies notions about the relations between the Scandinavian and the national by means of a number of case studies based on textual historical sources. As a consistent Scandinavian perspective on this period is new, the investigation substantially supplements and revises the individual national film histories of these countries. It adds missing context to national developments and makes visible border phenomena such as transnational collaborations and co-producing practices.The thesis finds that film production in Scandinavia in the silent era was orientated towards one of two poles, at times combined or in a state of negotiation: international economic ambitions or national cultural aspirations. The latter was frequently conceptualised as northern, Nordic and Scandinavian. ‘Scandinaviannesses’ performed when drawing on nature, folklore, literature and heritage, not least that of Norway, were employed for use in and out of Scandinavia by means of strategies of ‘double-entry book-keeping’. During the period, the notion of location underwent changes from an illusory, theatrical device to an inherently meaningful entity carrying identities infused with the Scandinavian. Examining the effects of shared comprehension of language and a shared recent history of Scandinavist ideas, the thesis identifies instrumental notions of kindredness and senses of cultural proprietorship extending to the output of the neighbouring countries. These notions were mobilised selectively within film culture and motivated practical transnational collaboration from the side of the authorities as well as in trade organisations.

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