Friday, 9 October 2009

Comments on my thesis (1)

I'm here at University of St Andrews to write a Ph.D. thesis. I'm only just beginning, although I do know my subject very well, and I know what it is that I want to do. It's well-known in cinema circles that there was a golden age of Swedish cinema from the mid-1910s to the mid-1920s, and then that in the late 1940s Ingmar Bergman appeared. What happened after that is also relatively well-known. But between Gösta Berlings saga (1924) and Hets (aka Frenzy or Torment, 1944) there wasn't 20 years of darkness. A lot of good films were made, and my thesis will bring some of them to light. Especially those written and directed by Hasse Ekman, as the focus of my thesis is Hasse Ekman and the Swedish cinema landscape of the 1940s and 1950s. I will at least cover the years 1940 to 1955, the years when Ekman was doing his major work in film.

It will partly be a study of Ekman's film from an authorship perspective. Are there common themes and stylistic motifs? Is it fair to say that his body of work has a consistent personal tone? But I will also be looking at the films in the context of Swedish cinema and society.

Ekman and Bergman were rivals, locked in battle, egged on by the critics. Ekman was the better filmmaker in the 40s, perhaps the most naturally gifted storyteller Swedish cinema has ever known, but Bergman gained ground and the contest exhausted Ekman. This I will also discuss in my thesis. But don't take what I'm saying today at face value. During these three years a lot might change.

If any readers know anything about Ekman or Swedish cinema, or have any questions, don't hesitate to write me a comment.


  1. I commented below, but thought you might miss it. So I just wanted to say hello, from another St. Andrews PhD that blogs (somtimes, not very recently)!

  2. No, I saw the other one as well. I had a brief look on your blog, and I noticed that you've written something new now.

  3. I think the problem with the thesis is the amount of data and information you can get. Written data would be hard to find rather than oral data that you can get from interviews and word of mouth. Anyway, you certainly pick a good thesis topic. How did it go? Did you already defended the paper?