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Short Films from a Small NationDanish Informational Cinema 1935-1965$
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C. Claire Thomson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424134

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424134.001.0001

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Enlightenment and Utility: Informational Film as Useful Cinema

Enlightenment and Utility: Informational Film as Useful Cinema

(p.5) 1. Enlightenment and Utility: Informational Film as Useful Cinema
Short Films from a Small Nation

C. Claire Thomson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter outlines recent scholarly work on film made for purposes other than entertainment: to persuade, instruct and inform. Throughout the history of the moving image, governments, businesses and other interest groups have used film to educate their workers and the public, establishing networks and mechanisms to produce, screen and distribute predominantly short and narrow-gauge films, often on an international scale, and outside the theatrical cinema circuit. Such filmmaking has been termed ‘useful cinema’; this chapter explains how and why scholarly interest in the phenomenon has increased since the late 2000s, discusses the taxonomy of its various sub-genres, and outlines emerging research methodologies. The chapter also situates Danish informational film within this critical and historical framework. A brief outline is provided of the Danish institutions involved in producing and distributing informational cinema from the 1930s to the 1960s, including Dansk Kuturfilm and Ministeriernes Filmudvalg, covering extant scholarship in the field, and the relationship of the commissioned film and the state.

Keywords:   Danish cinema, Useful cinema, State-sponsored film, Commissioned film, Non-theatrical film, Dansk Kulturfilm, Ministeriernes Filmudvalg

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