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Scandinavian silent cinema
jrd_7324 May 2016
"Art's Promised Land," the second episode in Cinema Europe, covers Scandinavian cinema. The first time I watched Cinema Europe, this was all new to me. All I knew of Scandinavian cinema before Ingmar Bergman was the work of Carl Theodor Dreyer and Witchcraft Through the Ages (directed by Benjamin Christensen). As a result, this entry was fascinating. Now, I am more familiar with silent Scandinavian cinema, so I was not as rabidly enthused on second viewing. It is still very good. I still wrote down a list of must see films (Love's Crucible and Sir Arne's Treasure were the big two), but I also had some disappointment.

I wished there had been more about Dreyer and Christensen. They are major filmmakers from Scandinavia and both get only a little screen time. The issue seems to be one of structure. "Art's Promised Land" primarily focuses on the story of the creation and evolution of one studio (Svensk), and since directors Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller belonged to that studio, they received the lion's share of the focus. I understand the reasoning and certainly have nothing disparaging to write about Sjostrom or Stiller. I just wished the episode had more time for Dreyer and Christensen.

"Art's Promised Land" was a good episode. I was not as wowed by it on this viewing as I was the first, but I was still impressed.
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Very good...but not one of the best episodes.
MartinHafer20 August 2011
"Cinema Europe" was a wonderful mini-series about the history of pre-WWII European cinema. The first episode is an overview and later ones focus on particular nations that made the bulk of the European films. Perhaps my begin less thrilled with this particular episode of "Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood" might be because of all the silents in the series, the Swedish ones are my least favorite. However, I really think my less enthusiastic reaction might be because so few films were discussed in this one compared to the other episodes. It could be that few of the films exist today--as silents were made on very volatile nitrate stock--which tended to turn to dust or goo or explode! Whatever the reason, I think I had already seen all but two of the films talked about in this episode--so there really wasn't anything new or interesting to someone who has seen many of the Swedish and Danish films. However, for someone not familiar with their work, the show does give a decent overview of the Swedish Film Industry and some of their more important works.
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