Defining the friendly Other: A case study of the public reception of Finnish films in Sweden | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2042-7891
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7905



This article discusses the relations between Swedish and Finnish film cultures adopting a historical cross-cultural reception framework. The cinema season 1937−1938 in Stockholm, when five Finnish films – an exceptional number – premiered, was a significant turning point for the import of Finnish films. The films aroused interest, and all of them were reviewed in the newspapers. The case illustrates how notions of both national cinema and national hierarchies are formed within transnational processes, which take place in networks encompassing different countries and cultures. Swedish journalists regarded Finnish cinema as backward compared to Swedish cinema, but as evolving: despite their primitiveness, Finnish films expressed authenticity and artistic ambition, even to a greater extent than Swedish films of the time. Through evaluations, comparisons and the construction of hierarchies, Swedish film journalists not only defined Finnish cinema but also presented ideas about Swedish and Nordic cinema.


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