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Bio för barnens bästa?: Svensk barnfilm som fostran och fritidsnöje under 60 år
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Cinema Studies.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Cinema of Best Intentions? : 60 Years of Swedish Children’s Film as Education and Entertainment (English)
Abstract [en]

The main aim of this dissertation is to examine the different childhood discourses permeating Swedish children’s cinema. This is done through close readings of three films that, each in their own way, play an important role in the history of this tradition: THE CHILDREN OF FROSTED MOUNTAIN (Rolf Husberg, 1945), THE CHILDREN OF BULLERBY VILLAGE (Olle Hellbom, 1960) and ELVIS! ELVIS! (Kay Pollak, 1977). Other subjects analysed are media debates about children’s film from the periods in which the films were produced, as well as official reports on the same subject. Taken as a whole, these elements form a significant body of material, describing the notions of children and childhood, as well as ideas around children’s film as medium, that predominated in Swedish society at three given moments in the 20th century. The study shows, that the most striking characteristic is that ever since 1945, when the first film specifically made for children was produced in Sweden, such films have been created with the intention of ‘benefiting’ the young audience. This ‘cinema of best intentions’, in turn, contains a number of attributes that are not always as unequivocally positive as they might initially seem.

One of the main starting points for this exploration comes from modern childhood studies, according to which every given time and culture has its own complex of ideas, understandings and representations of children and childhood. Another central theoretical source is Michel Foucault. His ideas of power and knowledge, discipline and oppression, as well as his methodology, permeate this study. From this point of view, there is an aspect of ‘best intentions’ children’s cinema that can be seen as imposing ‘the oppression of benevolence.’

The closing discussion shows how the Swedish children’s film, today as always, is inhibited by factors such as faithfulness to the written original, fear of upsetting the young audience and commercial demands.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2007. , 176 p.
Stockholm cinema studies, ISSN 1653-4859 ; 1653-4859
Keyword [sv]
barnfilm, barnfilmsestetik, barnfilmspolitik, filmcensur, svensk filmhistoria, barndom, barnkultur, barndomsdiskurser, diskursanalys, Michel Foucault, Olle Hellbom, Kay Pollak, Rolf Husberg
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Cinema Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6998ISBN: 978-91-85445-76-9OAI: diva2:197438
Public defence
2007-09-21, föreläsningssalen, Filmhuset, Borgvägen 5, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-08-23 Created: 2007-08-23 Last updated: 2012-07-10Bibliographically approved

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