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Short Films from a Small Nation

Danish Informational Cinema 1935–1965

C. Claire Thomson

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The first book-length study in English of a national corpus of state-sponsored informational film

For three decades, state-sponsored short filmmaking educated Danish citizens, promoted Denmark to the world, and shaped the careers of renowned directors like Carl Th. Dreyer. The first book-length study in English of a national corpus of state-sponsored informational film, this book traces how Danish shorts on topics including social welfare, industry, art and architecture were commissioned, funded, produced and reviewed from the inter-war period to the 1960s. Examining the life cycle of a representative selection of films, and discussing their preservation and mediation in the digital age, this book presents a detailed case study of how informational cinema is shaped by, and indeed shapes, its cultural, political and technological contexts.

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Chapter One - Enlightenment and utility: Informational film as useful cinema
Chapter Two - ‘We are a little land’: Informational film and small-nation cinema
Chapter Three - Mapping Messiness: The informational film archive & Actor-Network Theory
Chapter Four - ‘The film world’s cooperative store’: Institutions and films of the 1930s and 1940s
Chapter Five - ‘A film-progressive nation’: The Social Denmark series and the British documentary movement
Chapter Six - ‘Somethin’ about Scandinavia’: Danish shorts on the post-war international scene
Chapter Seven - ‘Citizens of the Future’: Informational film and the welfare state
Chapter Eight - ‘A free hand’: The art film versus the art of documentary
Chapter Nine - Symphony of a short film: A City Called Copenhagen

About the Author

Dr C. Claire Thomson is Senior Lecturer in Scandinavian Film at University College, London. She has published widely on Danish cinema, literature and culture, especially Carl Th. Dreyer, short films, multisensory cinema, and national identities. Her previous books include Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen (University of Washington Press, 2013) and Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema (Norvik Press, 2006). She is an editor of the journals Scandinavica and Kosmorama.

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