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Saigon-Stockholm: Radical Content and the Documentary Call for Action in Swedish Broadcasting Culture (1967–1972)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, Cinema Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4706-3300
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A case study on documentary in the Swedish context of public television, this paper will address the role of agency and regulation in documentary media culture. The paradoxical realization in 1970 of what may be labeled “solidarity programming” coincided with the opening of a second channel in 1969/70, famously referred to as “the radical turn” in Swedish broadcasting culture. A more nuanced media history may be traced in the interchange between individual producers and filmmakers, the re-organization of the Swedish Radio in 1969, the Swedish Radio Control Board, and the media attention paid to the Vietnam Movement. According to meeting protocols and early outlines from 1969, the new channel, TV2, was described as “internationally oriented” and in “active support of a politics of social change.” Clashes were immediate between the unifying purpose and articulated affect of this new editorial direction and the “informative, unbiased, and objective” profile stipulated by the Swedish radio law.

With a representative reference to program detail and scheduled documentary films, such as, Loin du Vietnam/Far From Vietnam (Ivens, Marker, Godard et.al., 1967. Transmitted by the Film Unit of the Swedish Radio Corporation on December 8, 1968. Prod. Lennart Ehrenborg), To Collect Evidence (SR/TV2, Lennart Malmer and Ingela Romare. Prod. Roland Hjelte. September 20, 1971),  In Vietnam When the Bombs are Falling (SR/TV2. Malmer/Romare/Hjelte. January 27, 1973.), not to forget the most important film for the Swedish Vietnam Movement: Gillo Pontecorvo’s drama documentary from 1966, La battaglia di Algeri. The Battle of Algiers (transmitted by SR/TV2 on March 31 in 1972), I will look at the strategies of the SR/TV producers to neutralize radical content, in order to pass the regulatory function of the Control Board. In line with scholarly work on the committed documentary and its “revolutionary sounds” (Kahana, 2008), the new modes of address in documentary and the direct address of the TV reporter (Chanan, 2012), the paper will also discuss aesthetic and media specific aspects; how for instance the call for action has been forged into the 16mm record and the intentional framing of the camera, or how it combines with the affective enactment of war testimony, but also with the fallacy of mistranslation, and the problem of reducing the personal testimony into a persuasive fragment subordinated to the political, emotional, or simply naïve point of view of the Swedish team.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Cinema Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167177OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-167177DiVA, id: diva2:1297914
Conference
Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2019, Seattle, USA, March 13-17, 2019
Funder
Swedish Research Council, Dnr 2016-02504Available from: 2019-03-21 Created: 2019-03-21 Last updated: 2019-07-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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