Historisk spelfilmsanalys : exemplet Gustaf Molanders Vi som går köksvägen 1932

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to offer an object lesson in how historians could make use of feature film as primary source material if they were to use the analytical tools developed in the field of film studies and by historians who started to work with film in the 1970s and 1980s. My own work on representations of maidservants in Swedish feature films in the 1930s and 1940s is used as a case in point. As a concrete example, I consider the trail- blazing blockbuster Vi som går köksvägen (Gustaf Molander, 1932, ‘Servants’ Entrance’, though not to be confused with the American film of the same name of 1934).
In dialogue with the fields of film studies and ”film and history”, I argue for a historically informed film analysis that treats feature film’s form and style, and its ‘re-historicization’, by relating it to the wider context of its production, reception, and the film culture in general. Further, a natural starting-point in any study of the representations of a certain category of people, such as maidservants, would be the different characters in the films in mind. Following the film scholar Richard Dyer, I suggest concentrating in the first instance on how the film stars act in their roles, considering each as a complex intersection between film, film culture, and society as a whole. Again referring to Dyer, I hold that each character captures a certain set of societal principals and values, sifting out types from stereotypes, iden- tifying the ones who represent the overall ideology of the film’s narrative and those who do not.
Taking a close look at Vi som går köksvägen, I demonstrate how all these things come together, in an analysis that deepens our understanding of this particular film as a historical source for Swedish society in the 1930s. Paying especial attention to the characters in the film, I discuss various aspects of the film’s form (story, plot, narration, parallelisms) and style (setting, properties, acting, make-up, and lightning), in the course of which
I relate to other types of material, shedding light on the film’s production and reception and on the construction of Tutta Rolf as a Swedish film star. I conclude that it is a surprisingly radical film, celebrating the strong new woman who was part of the new modern Sweden.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History

Keywords

  • film history, Swedish feature films, film stars, Vi som går köksvägen, Tutta Rolf
Translated title of the contributionHistorical feature film analysis-the example of Gustaf Molander's Vi som gar köksvägen 1932
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)36-65
JournalScandia
Volume80
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

http://journals.lub.lu.se/index.php/scandia/index

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